Congress' Kharge Calls Idea Of One Nation One Election "Undemocratic"

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also asked the committee formed to study the application of 'one nation one election' system in a country of 140 crore population, to be disbanded.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge vehemently opposed the idea of one nation one election
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge vehemently opposed the idea of one nation one election

The Indian National Congress (INC) on Friday vehemently opposed the idea of 'one nation one election' being forwarded by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) calling the notion of organizing simultaneous polls "undemocratic" and saying that it goes against federalism and the basic structure of the Constitution.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge also asked the committee formed to study the application of 'one nation one election' system in a country of 140 crore population, to be disbanded.

Kharge, in a letter to Niten Chandra, the secretary of the committee said, "The Indian National 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-powered committee dissolved."

The committee is being headed by the former President of India, Ram Nath Kovind.

In his letter, Kharge asked ex-President Kovind "not to allow his persona and the office of the former President of India to be abused by the Union government to subvert the Constitution and parliamentary democracy in this country."

On October 18, 2023, the committee requested the public to submit their suggestions. Highlighting that, Kharge alleged that the committee seemed to have "already made up its mind and seeking a consultation seems to be an eye wash".

"The government, parliament and ECI (Election Commission of India) should work together to ensure the people's mandate is respected rather than divert people's attention by talking about undemocratic ideas like simultaneous elections," he said.

Kharge further alleged that the composition of the committee is "biased". The committee was established without consulting the opposition parties, which hold power in several states, stated Mr. Kharge. He further noted that the decisions made by the committee will impact these states.

The Congress president further wrote, "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 pretence since minds have already been made up."

Kharge expressed amusement at the suggestion that holding simultaneous elections would lead to financial savings. He stated that the election expenses amount to less than 0.02% of the total Union Budget over the past five years.

"We feel the people will be willing to consider this small amount as the cost of free and fair elections to uphold democracy," Kharge added.

The government's 'one nation one election' website stated that national and state elections were largely conducted concurrently from 1951-52 to 1967. However, this pattern was disrupted, leading to elections occurring almost annually and at various times within a year. This has resulted in substantial government and stakeholder expenses, the diversion of security forces and electoral officers from their primary duties for extended periods, and disruptions in developmental work due to prolonged application of the model code of conduct.

The 'one nation one election' committee's scope of work involves examining whether the changes to the Constitution required for concurrent elections would require approval from the states.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge vehemently opposed the idea of one nation one election
Committee Chaired by Ram Nath Kovind to Review 'One Nation, One Election' Progress

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