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Congress Chief Kharge Criticizes ‘One Nation, One Election’ Panel

Congress Chief Kharge Allegations of Undermining India’s Federal Structure

Chennai, 03 September(City Times): Congress Chief Kharge: In a series of statements made on social media platform X, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge criticized the formation of the ‘One Nation, One Election’ committee. The previous day, the only Congress member on the 8-member panel, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, declined to join.

Kharge accused the Modi government of attempting to erode India’s democratic values and gradually transition the nation into a dictatorship. He emphasized that the ‘One Nation, One Election’ concept has been examined and rejected by three committees in the past.

Raising questions about the committee’s composition, Kharge noted the absence of a representative from the Election Commission and suggested that the committee’s objectives may have been predetermined.

Kharge highlighted that implementing such a reform would necessitate multiple constitutional amendments and significant changes to the Representation of the People Act, 1951. He explained that these changes would involve truncating the terms of elected bodies at various levels to synchronize their elections.

Responding to the BJP’s argument that simultaneous elections would save money, Kharge pointed out that the cost incurred by the Election Commission for conducting all elections between 2014-2019, including the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, was approximately ₹5,500 crore, a fraction of the government’s budget expenditure. He called the cost-saving logic “penny wise, pound foolish.”

Kharge acknowledged Prime Minister Modi’s concern about the model code of conduct disrupting development work and proposed addressing it by either shortening the moratorium or allowing specific developmental activities during election seasons.

Regarding claims that simultaneous elections were held until 1967, Kharge highlighted the significant increase in the number of states and elected representatives in panchayats since then, making the current scenario vastly different.

He criticized the ruling BJP for allegedly causing multiple by-elections over the past nine years and accused them of disregarding the people’s mandate. Kharge concluded by emphasizing the need for change in the 2024 elections and criticized the ‘One Nation, One Election’ idea as a drastic action that could harm India’s democracy and established procedures.

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