Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury Rejects High-Level Committee Invite for ‘One Nation, One Election’

3 September, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastava

Adhir Ranjan National

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi announced the committee's formation on Friday, for discussions that would take place in Parliament, to which Adhir Ranjan declined the invite.

Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has declined an invitation to join the High-Level Committee (HLC) formed by the Centre to examine the ‘One Nation, One Election’ proposal. The committee, chaired by former President Ram Nath Kovind, was established on Saturday. Chowdhury expressed reservations about the committee’s terms of reference, suggesting they were designed to predetermine its conclusions.

In a letter to Home Minister Amit Shah, a member of the HLC, Adhir Ranjan questioned the government’s motives behind forming the committee. He stated that he had learned about his appointment through the media and found it unacceptable to serve on a committee with terms of reference that seemed to ensure a particular outcome. He characterized the government’s push for simultaneous elections as constitutionally questionable, practically unworkable, and logistically infeasible.

Adhir Ranjan also raised objections to the exclusion of the Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, from the HLC, considering it an affront to parliamentary democracy.

The HLC comprises Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, who has since left the Congress. The committee’s other members include 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. Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will participate in the committee meetings as a special invitee.

The establishment of this committee has occurred several months before state assembly elections and the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pralhad Joshi had announced the committee’s formation on Friday, emphasizing that discussions would take place in Parliament.

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