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  India   Politics  04 Sep 2023  Kharge calls Oppn MPs meet ahead of session on simultaneous polls

Kharge calls Oppn MPs meet ahead of session on simultaneous polls

Published : Sep 4, 2023, 12:50 am IST
Updated : Sep 4, 2023, 12:50 am IST

Though the agenda for the session is not out, the Opposition is planning to take on the BJP unitedly on various fronts

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI Photo)
 Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: Ahead of the special session of Parliament, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, and Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, has called a meeting of the I.N.D.I.A. alliance MPs on September 5 to discuss strategy to counter the government's one nation, one election (ONOE) move.

Though the agenda for the session is not out, the Opposition is planning to take on the BJP unitedly on various fronts. A day after Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary refused to be on the panel, Kharge on Sunday accused the Centre of turning a vibrant democracy into a dictatorship.

"This gimmick of forming a committee is a subterfuge for dismantling the federal structure of India. There will be at least five amendments required in the Constitution of India and a massive change in the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The constitutional amendments will be required to truncate the terms of the elected Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies, as well as at the level of local bodies, so that they can be synchronised," said Kharge.

The Congress president added that there are some essential questions that need to be answered: "1. Without undermining the wisdom of any individual, is the proposed committee best suited to deliberate and decide on perhaps the most drastic disruption in the Indian electoral process? 2. Should this huge exercise be unilaterally undertaken without consulting the political parties at the national and state levels? And 3. Should this humongous operation happen without bringing states and their elected governments on board?"

"This idea has been extensively examined and rejected by three committees in the past. It remains to be seen whether the fourth one has been constituted with a predetermined outcome in mind. It baffles us that a representative of the prestigious Election Commission has been excluded from the committee," said the Congress leader.

"The fact that the cost incurred by the Election Commission in conducting all elections between 2014 and 2019 (including the 2019 Lok Sabha polls) is around Rs 5,500 crores, which is only a fraction of the government's budget expenditure, makes the cost-saving logic like penny wise, pound foolish. Similarly, if the Model Code of Conduct is the problem, it can be changed either by shortening the length of the moratorium or by relaxing the kinds of developmental activities permitted during the election season. All political parties can reach a wider consensus in this regard.”

"The BJP has a habit of overthrowing elected governments by disregarding the mandate of the people. Which have added considerably to the total number of 436 byelections since 2014 for parliamentary and Assembly constituencies alone. This inherent greed for power in the BJP has already vitiated our politics and has rendered the anti-defection law toothless. Drastic actions like ONOE will sabotage our democracy, Constitution and evolved, time-tested procedures. What can be accomplished by simple electoral reforms will prove to be a disaster, like other disruptive ideas of PM Modi."

"Till 1967, we neither had so many states nor did we have 30.45-lakh elected representatives in our panchayats. India is the world's largest democracy. We have lakhs of elected representatives and their future cannot be determined at one go now. For 2024, people of India only have 'one nation, one solution' -- to get rid of the BJP," said Kharge.

Tags: mallikarjuna kharge, india alliance