New Delhi: Slamming the ruling BJP and NDA MPs for saying they would not take salaries and perks for the days Parliament did not function, CPI leader D. Raja on Thursday said those not taking salaries have a “guilty conscience”.
“They are not taking salaries as they have a guilty conscience. They know they have not worked (during the session). Our conscience is clear, we wanted to work and wanted to discuss the issues on the floor of the House,” Communist Party of India (CPI) Rajya Sabha member Raja told IANS outside Parliament.
“It was the ruling party members who did not allow Parliament to function. So they are not taking salaries.”
The government on Wednesday announced that the MPs belonging to the BJP and other National Democratic Alliance (NDA) parties would not take salaries and perks for the 23 days of the second half of the Budget Session in which neither House worked for a single day.
On Thursday, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ananth Kumar reiterated — despite NDA ally Shiv Sena openly taking exception to the BJP’s position — that the “BJP and NDA MPs would not draw their salaries and perks for 23 days”.
Calling the decision as “historic”, Kumar said after Independence, it is for the first time that the ruling party members are foregoing their salaries and perks as Parliament has not functioned.
The only earlier instance, he said, was when during the 14th Lok Sabha (May 2004 – May 2009) the BJP as the opposition party under L.K. Advani had taken a similar decision.
“We decided to forego our salaries as during the last 23 days, Parliament has not worked. The money that we get as salary belongs to the taxpayer. We believe Parliament is a forum for public service,” Kumar said.
He also dared the opposition members to react to the government’s move. “We have taken our decision as per our conscience. Now the ball is in their (opposition’s) court,” Kumar said.