Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury declines to be part of 'One Nation, One Election' panel
Questioning the timing of the Centre's move, the Congress leader in Lok Sabha termed the committe a "ritualistic exercise"
The Congress on Sunday said the timing of the high-level committee on 'One nation, One election' is highly suspect and its terms of reference have already determined its recommendations.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said the composition of the committee is also a total give away and that is why Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, has rightly refused to be a part of it.
"The High-level Committee on what is called “One Nation One Election” is a ritualistic exercise, the timing of which is highly suspect. Its terms of reference have already determined its recommendations," he said on X, formerly Twitter.
"The composition of the Committee is also a total give-away and the Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha @adhirrcinc last night very rightly refused to be part of it," he added.
Chowdhury on Saturday declined to be a part of the panel announced by the Centre to examine the possibility of simultaneous elections in the country.
In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Chowdhury said he has come to know that he has been appointed a member of the high-level committee on simultaneous polls to the Lok Sabha and 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," he said in his letter.
"Moreover, the sudden attempt to thrust a constitutionally suspect, pragmatically non-feasible and logistically unimplementable idea on the nation, months before the general elections, raises serious concerns about ulterior motives of the government," he said.
The Congress leader also lamented the exclusion of current Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge from the committee.
"This is a deliberate insult to the system of Parliamentary democracy.
"In these circumstances, I have no option but to decline your invitation," said Chowdhury, who is also the chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
The Centre on Saturday notified the eight-member committee to examine and make recommendations at the earliest on the issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, state assemblies, municipalities and panchayats.
The committee, which will be headed by former president Ram Nath Kovind, will have Home Minister Shah, Chowdhury, former leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and former finance commission chairman N K Singh as members, according to an official notification.