NEW DELHI: In an attempt to deflect criticism of the increase in Delhi MLAs’ salaries, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi too should get a “salary hike”.
Delhi MLAs on Thursday approved a 400% increase in their salary, accepting in totality the recommendations made by an independent committee that proposed a monthly payout of Rs 2.35 lakhs to each MLA, against the existing Rs 88,000.
“If the Prime Minister’s salary is less than this, even his salary should be raised. We all demand that his salary should be hiked,” Kejriwal said while speaking in the Delhi assembly on Friday.
“Kal ko Obama miley toh kya bolenge? (If Modi meets Obama tomorrow, what will he say?) It (PM’s salary) should be at least 8-10 lakhs (a month),” Kejriwal added.
Defending his government’s sanctioning a huge raise for Delhi’s legislators, Kejriwal said that even after the salary hike takes effect, the capital’s MLAs won’t earn even “120th fraction” of what editors of media organisations and top TV anchors earn.
Kejriwal said, adding that it was important to give legislators proper salaries and other facilities but “if they still indulge in corruption don’t spare them.”
The bill to increase Delhi legislators’ salaries was introduced – and passed – on Thursday in the face of opposition from BJP MLAs who said this was probably not the right time for legislators to take an increment.
“We will abstain from voting for this bill because we do not think this is the right time for it. Even if you have to introduce it, the increment needs to lowered,” said the leader of Opposition, Vijender Gupta.
The recommendations were proposed by an expert committee headed by the former secretary general of the Lok Sabha, PDT Achari. The committee was constituted on August 21 after several MLAs of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party complained that they were unable to make ends meet with the existing pay package.
AAP came in for further criticism in the light of its statement that the government is running extremely low on funds and despite its ‘aam aadmi’ credentials, sought to ensure its own bank balance above all.