Cong MPs to forgo DA over House impasse

Sonia, Rahul among followers; BJP ridicules move

Opposition party BJP was quick to dismiss the move, describing it as a “diversionary tactic.”
Led by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi, nearly 80 Congress  MPs have so far decided not to draw their daily allowance from November 10, the day from which Parliament has been adjourning over the telecom scandal. More MPs of the party—there are 278 Congress MPs, including 207 in the Lok Sabha and 71 in the Rajya Sabha—are likely to join the moralistic campaign next week.

The MPs have written to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar in this regard. Members get Rs 2,000 as daily allowance. Friday (November 26) was the 11th day since November 9 that Parliament has not been allowed to function by the Opposition which is demanding a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the scam.

Speaking on the move, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal claimed that it was an individual move, initiated by party spokesman Manish Tewari, which had been emulated by other MPs. The minister asserted that a number of Congress MPs told him that they did not feel like taking the allowance when Parliament was not transacting any business. Bansal noted that they were inclined to adhere to the “no-work, no-pay” norm.

The BJP, however, dismissed the Congress move. Party deputy leader in the Rajya Sabha S S Ahluwalia said Bansal would do well to read the rules afresh. He said MPs did not have to claim the DA because once they signed the attendance register, it went straight into their bank accounts.

Ahluwalia said it was undesirable to give an impression that MPs were coming to Parliament for just Rs 2,000 a day. Party colleague Prakash Javadekar described the Congress drive as a diversionary tactic.

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