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A proposal of the Election Commission seeking statutory powers to countermand a poll over cases of bribe-for-votes has received the backing of the opposition Congress, but the ruling BJP says first there is a need for a similar definition of 'gratification' in all laws.
At an all-party meeting held in New Delhi on Friday, the poll panel had sought the views of parties on its proposal to have a specific clause in the Representation of the People Act "to take appropriate action including countermanding of election in the event of incidents of bribery of electors".
The Congress, the main opposition party in Parliament, said it stands for strengthening of democratic institutions in their fight against graft.
"The Congress party stands for strengthening of institutions of democracy. All steps which will fight and reduce the menace of money power will have the support of the party," party leader Vivek Tankha told PTI.
Tankha, a former Additional Solicitor General, had represented the Congress in the all-party meeting.
BJP general secretary Bhupendra Yadav said his party will apprise its stand in detail to the Election Commission on the agenda items.
Yadav had represented the BJP in the meeting.
The Commission has asked the government to add a new section 58 B in the Representation of People Act, 1951, on the lines of section 58 A, which allows adjournment of poll or countermanding the election on the ground of booth capturing.
The R K Nagar bypoll in Tamil Nadu was cancelled on the same grounds recently.