New Delhi: Several AAP MLAs have asked the Delhi government for a hike in their allowances citing difficulty in meeting up with their expenses, a move which has evoked a sharp response from the opposition.
The MLAs that have asked the government to look into their demand are Praveen Deshmukh (Jangpura), former transport minister Saurabh Bharadwaj (Greater Kailash), former president of AAP's student wing (Sarita Singh), Sanjeev Jha (Burari) and Somdutt (Sadar Bazar).
"We have asked the government to look into the demands as we are unable to cope up with the expenses. For example, there are several people who come to our office. If we cannot even provide them with basic tea...There are travelling expenses within the constituency," said an AAP MLA.
"The demand to raise the allowance is totally justified considering the expenses," said Somdutt, MLA from Sadar Bazaar.
Another AAP MLA, who is a parliamentary secretary, said, "As per the government order, we cannot avail any other facility and then we are expected to visit the departments (hospitals, schools) which we are assigned to. We only get Rs 6000 as the travelling expense. At times, it becomes difficult to manage the expenses."
Incidentally, party leader Sanjay Singh had come out strongly on twitter against the move to hike MPs salaries, while their own MLAs ask for a hike.
"We have got to know about AAP MLAs demanding a hike in their salaries. Justified demands can be considered," said a senior Delhi government official.
Vijendra Gupta, Om Prakash Sharma and Jagdish Pradhan, the three BJP MLAs in state Assembly, also opposed the AAP MLAs' demand seeking hike in salaries and allowances of the Assembly members.
"We have joined politics only for public service. I am of the view that the present pay and allowances are sufficient but personally I will work on a pay of rupee one only," Sharma, MLA from Vishwas Nagar, said.
Leader of BJP Legislature Party Gupta and Pradhan supported Sharma saying they will jointly move a motion in this regard during the next session.
"We shall accept only secretarial expenses and not accept pay," they added.