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KC Venugopal terms panel on 'One Nation, One Poll' “jumla”, questions move to keep out Kharge

New Delhi: Congress leader KC Venugopal on Sunday termed the Centre's move to constitute a high-level committee to explore the feasibility of 'One Nation, One Poll', thereby raising the possibility of the next Lok Sabha polls being held alongside the upcoming state elections, as another "jumla" (hollow promise) by the ruling BJP.
Speaking to ANI on Sunday, the Congress leader said, "This is a clear attempt to subvert and sabotage our parliamentary democracy. It is also a ploy to divert public attention from the Adani issue (the latest report on the Adani Group by a global non-profit funded by billionaire investor George Soros). The intention is very clear. This is nothing but another jumla."
On the composition of the eight-member committee, to be headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind, the Congress national general secretary said, "The current leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge) has not been included in the committee but a former LoP has been named in the panel."
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.
On the panel notified by the Centre, the Congress leader frowned on the decision to include Azad, a former Congressman, instead of Kharge.
"Our only question is — isn't the current LoP (Rajya Sabha) qualified enough to be a member of the committee? We would like to know why Kharge-ji has not been included in the committee," Venugopal said.
On the Centre entrusting former President Kovind with the task of coming up with recommendations for holding simultaneous assembly and Lok Sabha polls, he said, "These are diversionary tactics of the BJP. Whenever a meeting of the INDIA bloc is around, they come up with such jumlas. We can sense the panic in the BJP."
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. 
However, the government remained tight-lipped on the issues to be taken up during the special session.
Opposition leaders slammed the BJP-led Centre for announcing a special session without holding prior consultations with them or informing the Business Advisory Committee.
According to the Centre, the high-level committee shall start functioning immediately and make recommendations at the earliest.
Further, according to the official notification, Union Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will attend the meetings of the committee as a special invitee.
Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, however, declined to serve on the panel, saying its “terms of reference have been prepared in a manner to guarantee its conclusions”.
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.

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