ANI Photo | Congress slams Centre for including Ghulam Nabi Azad instead of Kharge in committee on simultaneous polls

After the Centre constituted a high-level committee to examine the possibility of conducting simultaneous elections in the country– one nation, one election—the Congress on Saturday questioned why the government has not included party president Mallikarjun Kharge in the eight-member panel saying that the exclusion of Rajya Sabha LoP is an insult to the Parliament. 
The Congress also took strong exception to the Centre’s decision to include former Leader of Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad instead of Kharge in the committee. 
The Centre on Saturday constituted an eight-member high-level Committee to examine the issue of ‘one nation, one election’ and make recommendations for holding simultaneous elections in the country.
Apart from former President Ram Nath Kovind, who is Chairman, the committee comprises Home Minister Amit Shah, Congress leader Ahir Ranjan Chowdhury, former Leader of Opposition in 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.  
Taking to social media platform X, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said, “We believe that the High-Level Committee on Simultaneous Elections is nothing but a systematic attempt to sabotage India’s parliamentary democracy.”
“In a shocking insult to Parliament, the BJP has appointed a former LOP to the Committee instead of Rajya Sabha LOP Sh. Mallikarjun @kharge ji. First, they bring this gimmick to distract from the Adani Mega Scam, unemployment, price rise and other pressing issues of the people. Then, to make matters worse, they try to tilt this committee’s balance by excluding fierce opponents. What is the reason behind Kharge ji’s exclusion? Is a leader who has risen from such a humble background to the top post of India’s oldest party, leading the entire opposition in the Upper House, an inconvenience for the BJP-RSS?” Venugopal wrote on X. 
Meanwhile, the Leader of the single largest party in opposition in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, who is included in the committee has declined to serve on the panel, saying its “terms of reference have been prepared in a manner to guarantee its conclusions”.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chowdhury said, “I have just got to know through the media and a Gazette notification has appeared that I have been appointed as a Member of the High-Level Committee on simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas. I have no hesitation whatsoever in declining to serve on the Committee whose terms of reference have been prepared in a manner to guarantee its conclusions. It is, I am afraid, a total eyewash.”
The government notification also said that Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will attend the meetings of the High-Level Committee as a special invitee.
The committee has been set up months before assembly polls in five states and ahead of Lok Sabha polls next year

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