New Delhi: The Congress on Thursday formed a six-member group led by former Union Minister Ambika Soni to suggest measures for electoral reforms, an idea mooted by Congress President Sonia Gandhi at the party's recent Chintan Shivir in Jaipur. The other members of the group are Oil Minister M Veerappa Moily, former Union Ministers MS Gill and Mani Shankar Aiyar, party MP EMS Natchiappan and an expert Mohan Gopal.
Announcing the decision, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi said the group will make recommendations for electoral reforms but declined to give any timeline for doing so. While the Jaipur declaration of Congress had said that the party will pursue vigorously an agenda for electoral and judicial reforms, Sonia Gandhi had made a strong pitch for electoral reforms as well as looking into the issue of political funding. "We have to admit that people are getting disillusioned with the political process. We have to understand what the causes of this disillusionment are and we have to do away with this with sensitivity," Gandhi had said.
She had also announced the setting up of a special group within the party to consider all suggestions and come out with a programme at the earliest. "We have to make now time bound programmes to do it," she had said.
There has been a growing demand from various quarters in the country for bringing about crucial electoral reforms that include banning of criminals from contesting elections and addressing the issue of political funding by bringing in more democracy in political parties. The Election Commission of India has also been pressing the government for bringing such reforms at the earliest and has given a proposal, which is pending with the government.