BJP parliamentarian Varun Gandhi, who has been pushed to a corner inside the party, questioned the MP’s power to hike their own salaries while referring to rising number of farmers’ suicide in the country. He also objected to major bills like Aadhaar being passed without serious discussion or referring them to a parliamentary panel.
“In the interest of the country, we must create an external body, independent of us members, to determine the salaries,” Gandhi said while raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the Lok Sabha.
Gandhi talked about self-regulation by the lawmakers and related it with farmers’ suicide and the economic conditions of the country. He also cited the example of the first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, saying, “In the very first meeting of his cabinet it was decided that the all the members would not take their remuneration for six months looking after the suffering of the people at that time.”
He added that even the Constituent Assembly member from Odisha, Biswanath Das, chose to draw only Rs 25 a day instead of Rs 45 a day, saying that he did not require any more.
Gandhi also questioned the recent decision by the Tamil Nadu assembly to double the salaries of its legislators and referred to the protests by the Tamil Nadu farmers in the national capital.
He said it was shameful that the number of sittings in the Lok Sabha had dropped from 123 days a year in 1952 to 75 in 2016. “The Winter Session, 2016, hit a low point of 16 per cent. It is shameful. Taxation bills, as significant as Aadhaar, were passed within two weeks without being referred to a committee, he added.
Gandhi has been pushed to the sidelines of the party and had refused to campaign during the UP polls as his name was included at the bottom of the list of the campaigners. His strong statement on Tuesday is unlikely to go down well with the government and the party.
While making his statement on the salary of MPs, Gandhi also drew a comparison with other countries saying, “As compared to a 13 per cent rise in the UK, Indian lawmakers had raised their salaries by 400 per cent in the last decade…Have we really earned this massive increment,” he asked.
Varun Gandhi has been national secretary and then promoted to General secretary in the party, however, he could not find any position in the current team led by Amit Shah.