Lucknow: Legislators, cutting across party lines during the ongoing budget session of the Uttar Pradesh assembly, are worried, among other things, about their perks and salaries - now at Rs.50,000 a month.
Citing the price rise and inflation, these otherwise feuding politicians have struck a rare unanimity on their pay hike - if not for combating the spiraling crimes against women or resurrecting the power sector.
And so, amid the bedlam the house is now becoming so used to, senior leaders have openly aired the "urgent need" of revising their salaries and perks to at least enable them "offer tea and snacks to visitors".
This in a house that boasts of 271 crorepatis (multi-millionaires) among its 403 members. A report of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) compiled on the basis of affidavits submitted ahead of the 2012 assembly polls, puts the figure of multi-millionaires at 67 per cent of the house strength.
Of them, the maximum crorepatis belong to the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) which has 140, followed by the BSP (63), the BJP (32), the Congress (18) and the Rashtriya Lok Dal (7).
Prominent among them are Nawab Qazim Ali (Congress), Subhash (SP), Sanjay Jaiswal (Congress), Noor Rana (BSP) and Vimla Singh (BJP).
The voiceferous demand for a higher salary and revision of perks caught many seated in the visitors gallery by surprise as the fervent appeals came minutes before they drove off in their swanky SUVs.
The salaries and other emoluments of the state's legislators were last revised February 7, 2010, when the government, then headed by chief minister Mayawati, had announced: "The government has decided to hike the salary and perks of members in both houses to Rs.50,000 per month from existing Rs. 30,000."
Till then, legislators received Rs.3,000 a month as salary, Rs.15,000 as constituency allowance, Rs.6,000 as medical allowance and Rs.6,000 as secretarial allowance.
Then, on March 7, 2013, political expediency prevailed on economic prudence as Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mohd Azam Khan announced that very soon there would be another hike. Predictbly, the announcement was greeted by the thumping of desks, both from the treasury and opposition benches.