Aam Aadmi Party legislators on Thursday defended the government’s decision to propose a substantial hike in the salary and allowances of MLAs.
The ruling party members termed the decision to be path-breaking in the country’s political history as for the first time any legislature has agreed to hike salary of MLAs on recommendation of an independent expert committee constituted by the Delhi Assembly Speaker.
AAP MLAs Sanjeev Jha, Sarita Singh, Akhilesh Tripathi, Praveen Kumar, Som Dutt, Ved Prakash, Amanatullah Khan, Jarnail
Singh and Manish Sisodia all spoke in favour of the bill proposing the salary hike on Thursday with BJP MLAs Vijender Gupta and Jagdish Pradhan speaking against it.
“We have always stood for politics of honesty and simplicity… but it is a fact that one can’t survive in real life without enough money. While some of our MLAs come from rich background, others come from a very different background. The existing system is impractical and far from reality. Don’t know how people could even think that an MLA or a municipal councilor can work honestly and survive on this salary,” said Sisodia.
He said the decision was historic because the Centre seemed to have taken a cue from Delhi and decided to revise the salaries of Members of Parliament.
The AAP legislators underlined that several of them had come from humble backgrounds and it was next to impossible for them to meet both the expectations of the people and take care of responsibilities of their families.
“Having worked for the last 10 months, it is difficult to comprehend how the previous MLAs survived with such low salaries. The only other way I can foresee is by making money by other means,” said Sarita Singh, AAP’s Rohtas Nagar MLA.
The BJP legislators, on the other hand, reminded the House that the government must also think about the salary of municipal councillors.
Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said the government must rethink on the hike amount and put the bill on hold for now.
“There is no denying the fact that MLAs have several challenges. But even in adverse condition if the message goes out that we have taken this matter on priority business, it will send a wrong message,” said Gupta, before walking out of the House in protest.