New Delhi | Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday hit out at the central government over its ‘One Nation, One Election’ push, saying that the centre wants to turn the country into a “dictatorship” by implementing it.
Mallikarjun Kharge while taking to social media platform ‘X’, alleged that forming a committee to study on ‘One Nation, One Dictatorship’ is a “subterfuge for dismantling” the federal structure of India.
“Modi Govt wants Democratic India to slowly turn it into a Dictatorship,” Kharge wrote on X, adding, “This gimmick of forming a committee on 'One Nation, One Election' is a subterfuge for dismantling the Federal Structure of India.”
He further said that to implement 'One Nation, One Election' in the country, 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 shall be required to truncate the terms of the elected Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies, as also at the level of local bodies so that they can be synchronised,” he added.
Kharge while putting his argument, asked the Centre whether the proposed committee was best suited to deliberate and decide on perhaps the most drastic disruption in the Indian electoral process without
undermining the wisdom of any individual.
“Should this huge exercise unilaterally be undertaken without consulting the political parties at the National level and at the State level? Should this humongous operation happen without bringing States and their elected governments on board?” he further asked.
Raising questions about the policy, Kharge said, “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 pre-decided outcome in mind.”
“It baffles us that a representative of the prestigious Election Commission of India has been excluded from the committee,” the Congress President said.
As the Centre is defending itself saying that the policy will cut down the expenditure for conducting elections, Kharge said that the logic is like “penny wise and pound foolish”.
“The fact that the cost incurred by the Election Commission in conducting all elections between 2014-19 (including Lok Sabha 2019) is around Rs 5,500 crore, which is only a fraction of the Government’s budget expenditure, makes the cost saving logic like a penny wise, pound foolish,” he said.
He further said that 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,” Kharge said.
“The BJP has a habit of overthrowing elected governments by disregarding the mandate of the people. Which has added considerably to the total number of 436 Bye Elections, 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,” Kharge added.
He further alleged that actions like implementing 'One Nation, One Election' would “sabotage” democracy, the Constitution and evolved-time-tested procedures.
“What can be accomplished by simple electoral reforms would 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, the people of India only have ONE NATION, ONE SOLUTION - To get rid of BJP misrule!” the Congress President said.
The Centre on Saturday constituted an eight-member committee to examine and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections in the country.
The members of the committee, apart from former President Kovind, include Union Home Minister Amit Shah; Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury; former Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad; former Finance Commission chairman NK Singh, former Lok Sabha secretary general Subhash C Kashyap,
senior advocate Harish Salve and former chief vigilance commissioner Sanjay Kothari.
The notification of the high-powered panel by the Centre came just days after it announced a special session of the Parliament from September 18 to 22, on the same day the two-day Mumbai conclave of the INDIA bloc was in progress.
Simultaneous elections for the state assemblies and the Lok Sabha were held till 1967. However, in 1968 and 1969 some legislative assemblies were dissolved prematurely followed by the dissolution of the Lok Sabha in 1970. This forced a change in electoral schedules for the states and the country.