Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge has firmly opposed the 'One Nation, One Election' initiative, labeling it as undemocratic and contrary to the Constitution’s “guarantees of federalism”.
In a letter to the 'One Nation, One Election' panel led by former president Ram Nath Kovind, Kharge said that “even common voters” feel that its “consultations” are likely to be a “pretense since minds have already been made up”.
The former President led panel is currently looking into the proposal to hold simultaneous elections.
In the letter, Kharge criticized the composition of the panel, alleging a bias that excludes substantial representation from opposition parties "that head various state governments that would be affected by the recommendations of this committee".
It should be noted that the Centre had included Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury as a member of the panel but he declined to be a part of it, saying that the “terms of reference” of the committee “have been prepared in a manner to guarantee its conclusions”.
“When the committee is headed by no less than the former President of India, it is distressing when even common voters feel the consultations of the committee are likely to be a pretense since minds have already been made up. Firm views in support of the proposal have already been expressed in public and a dispassionate analysis of pros and cons is not being attempted in a serious and systematic manner,” Kharge said in the letter, Indian Express reported.
The committee had on 18 October last year written to all political parties seeking their views on the proposal of One Nation, One Election.
“There is no place for the concept of simultaneous elections in a country that has adopted a Parliamentary system of government. Such forms of simultaneous elections that are being floated by the government go against the guarantees of federalism contained in the Constitution," Kharge said.
"The government and this committee should have been honest in stating at the outset that what they are attempting goes against the basic structure of the Constitution and will require substantial changes to the basic structure of the Constitution…," he said.
"The Congress is strongly opposed to the very idea of one nation, one election. For the sake of maintaining a thriving and a robust democracy, it is imperative that the entire idea must be abandoned and the High Power Committee dissolved,” Kharge said.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!