- Rajasthan government on February 23 gifted the latest iPhone 13 to all 200 MLAs
- iPhone was presented to them after the state budget session was over
- BJP MLAs decided to return iPhones "keeping in view financial burden" it entailed on state exchequer
The Rajasthan government on Wednesday (February 23) gifted the latest iPhone 13 to all the 200 MLAs after presenting the state budget.
However, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislators decided to return the iPhones "keeping in view the financial burden" it entailed on the state exchequer.
Last year, all the 200 MLAs were presented iPads along with a copy of the budget, just after the tabling of the state budget by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot. Usually, the MLAs are given a copy of the budget in a briefcase, but this time, they were presented with a leather briefcase with iPhone 13 inside.
Yesterday, after the chief minister presented budget and the house was adjourned for the day, all the MLAs were given a briefcase with an iPhone 13 at the time of exit.
The phone costs above Rs 70,000.
A ruling party MLA said, “The assembly is going paperless and the effort is to make members of the house hi-tech.”
PHED Minister Mahesh Joshi also said the smartphones have been distributed to make the system paperless and MLAs hi-tech.
However, the Opposition has decided to return the gift.
Rajasthan BJP chief Satish Poonia, in a tweet, said that the party's MLAs will return their iPhones
"After discussion with honourable @Gulab_kataria ji and @Rajendra4BJP ji and other legislators, it has been decided that all the @BJP4Rajasthan MLAs will return the iPhone given by the Congress government keeping in view the financial burden on the state government," he tweeted.
Commenting on the budget that was presented in the House, Poonia said that it looks as if the budget was taken to a beauty parlour and was presented with good makeup.
Notably, BJP has 71 MLAs in the 200-member House.
Criticising the government move, BJP MLA and former minister Vasudev Devnani said it’s good and welcoming to go paperless and become hi-tech, but spending such a huge amount, “that too when the state's economy is in a poor shape, is not justified”.
'Today's budget is taking the state towards more than Rs 5 lakh crore debt. The revenue collection is declining. In such a time how far is it justified to buy such an expensive phone?” he asked.