Congress MLA from Badli Devendra Yadav returning his past five months’ salary to the Delhi Chief Secretary has triggered a debate among political parties in the capital about whether other MLAs too should follow suit.
Many leaders from the Congress said they did not feel the need to emulate the gesture and argued that though the Delhi Assembly is suspended, MLAs were still carrying out work in their respective constituencies.
On August 14, Yadav had returned Rs 2.67 lakh to the Delhi government, keeping only Rs five as salary for five months. This move came after the Supreme Court — while hearing a plea by the AAP to suspend the Delhi Assembly — observed that MLAs were drawing a salary without any work.
Congress MLA from Okhla Mohammad Asif said, “An MLA does not work only in the Assembly, but for the constituency. I have not taken any leave from work despite the suspension of the Assembly. Devendra decided to return his salary of his own volition, but I think this gives the wrong impression.”
The AAP leaders said while the “personal gesture was good”, a distinction must be drawn between legislature work and day-to-day functions. “The AAP is the only party whose members refused to take official residences or want an increase in pay. While it is true that the legislative side is suspended, day-to-day activities of our MLAs continue. The AAP has held mohalla sabhas and engaged with the public. Therefore a basic salary for the day-to-day activities of the MLA is legitimate. However, if an MLA feels that he does not want the salary as he has not done any work, it is a fair gesture,” a senior AAP leader said.
AAP leader Ashutosh said, “We must also look at why this problem has arisen. This has only come up because the Assembly has not been dissolved. It is on the AAP’s petitions that this debate has arisen. Fresh elections is the solution to this problem.”