1 poll likely even for panchayats

Shah on 8-member Kovind panel, Congress' Adhir refuses to join

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday notified an eight-member high-level committee (HLC) to examine and make recommendations on the issue of holding simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha, state Assemblies, municipalities and panchayats at the earliest.

It will examine and recommend specific amendments to the Constitution, the Representation of the People Act and any other laws and rules which would require amendments for the purpose of holding simultaneous elections.

It will examine and recommend if the amendments to the Constitution would require ratification by the states.

The committee, to be headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind will have Union home minister Amit Shah, former leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad and former Finance Commission chairman N.K. Singh as members.

Congress Lok Sabha leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury declined to be a part of the committee. In a letter to Shah, he called the committee an eyewash. The terms of reference of the committee were prepared in a manner to guarantee its conclusions, he said.

He said the exclusion of Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress president, from the committee “a deliberate insult to the system of Parliamentary democracy.”

The notification said that the panel, which will commence functioning immediately and make recommendations at the earliest, will also have former Lok Sabha Secretary General Subhash C. Kashyap, senior advocate Harish Salve and former Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) Sanjay Kothari as members.

Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal will attend the meetings of the committee as a special invitee, while law secretary Niten Chandra will be secretary to the panel.

As per the notification, the committee will analyse and recommend possible solutions to scenarios such as hung House, adoption of no-confidence motion, or defection or any such other event in case of simultaneous elections.

"The committee will hear and entertain all persons, representations and communications which in its opinion can facilitate its work and enable it to finalise its recommendations," it said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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