Lalu in vanguard in LS for salary hike

"Yehi logon ke ghar ke aagey 'kuttey se savdhan' likha hota hai, Kuttey ke saath sotey hain aur kuttey ko kiss karten hai. (When you go to their houses, the warning on the gate says 'beware of dog'. These people sleep with their dog and also kiss their dog)," Lalu said in the Lok Sabha.

His comments came a day after reports that there was division in the Cabinet over the bill with some ministers opposing it.

"Our salary is less than a junior clerk's... we are compelled to beg," he said making a forceful plea to the government to "accept in full" a JPC report that recommended a five-fold increase in the existing salary of Rs 16,000.

He said those opposing the JPC proposal were "insulting" the MPs. "These people have farm houses. They have bungalows worth crores. They spend lavishly in their weddings and they stay in five-star hotels," he added.

Besides, he suggested that there was difference in pay packets of different law makers in the country, with MLAs from Goa getting Rs one lakh.

"We have to give 100 cups of tea and food to visitors and even have to give return fare to those who have come for medical treatment. Our house is utilised like an ashram," he said.

Making a oblique reference to the alleged corruption in the Commonwealth Games and the IPL, he lamented "when the MPs seek a better pay packet, we are told it would tarnish our image."

He said television news channels were debating the issue without considering the realities of today and were "humiliating" MPs, asking why they needed a salary hike when they were not working.

Ridiculing those who made rounds of leaders to seek Rajya Sabha tickets, he said how could "those people understand the pain and the suffering of those who had to walk with blisters on their feet."

He said what they had asked for was a salary that was only a Re 1 more than what the Cabinet Secretary got, primarily to maintain protocol.

"We are being criticised for seeking hike in salaries by certain persons, who stash away black money in Swiss banks," he said without naming anybody.

Prasad's remarks received widespread support and cheer from members cutting across party lines.

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