Vasundhara Raje is in Delhi amid speculations over CM pick for Rajasthan.
Weeks after West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a hike in the monthly remuneration of MLAs and members of the Cabinet, BJP legislator and the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Suvendu Adhikari, on Wednesday said he had decided to donate the hiked portion of his salary to the protesting government employees demanding payment of Dearness Allowance (DA) at par with other states.
Under an umbrella forum for protest titled ‘Sangrami Joutho Mancha’, the state employees have been holding a sit-in for months demanding the provision of DA at par with central government staffers and their counterparts in other states.
Earlier, on Wednesday, the Bengal LoP reached Shahid Minar in Kolkata, the venue of the ongoing protest.
Speaking to ANI at the protest site, the BJP leader said, “Since my monthly remuneration as an MLA has also been raised, I have decided to hand over the hiked portion of my salary to the Sangrami Sangrami Joutho Mancha. As a lawmaker, who is sensitive to the needs of our government officials, this is my humble contribution to the cause. I proposed to donate my additional monthly pay to the protest forum and the members accepted it.”
Earlier this month, Chief Minister and the ruling TMC chief, Mamata Banerjee, announced a salary hike of Rs 50,000 for state ministers and Rs 40,000 for legislators. She added, however, that the hike wasn’t much when compared to other states.
Amid calls for parity in DA allotment for state employees, the government has cited its inability to do so owing to the fiscal crunch and outlays towards its welfarist schemes.
Taking a swipe at the Mamata regime for not meeting the demand of the DA protesters, Adhikari said a government that can cough up huge sums to fund the CM’s overseas visits, Durga Puja donations, and honorariums for Muslim clerics should be ashamed not to be able to meet the demand of the government employees.
“The government should meet the demand at the earliest. I have been raising the issue both inside and outside the Assembly. This government isn’t willing to accept their demands. They have announced donations to Durga Puja committees and have raised the monthly honorariums for the Imams. However, they claim to have no money when it comes to meeting the legitimate demand of our government employees. This government should be ashamed,” Adhikari told ANI.
“This government doesn’t seem to be struggling for funds when it comes to splurging Rs 20 crores from the public exchequer for the CM’s foreign tours. They can spend Rs 300 crores towards donations for Durga Puja. They should also do some spending for the state employees. This (DA at par with other states) is not a demand but their right,” the BJP leader said, adding that the state government should announce 33 per cent of DA ahead of the Pujas.
The ‘Sangrami Joutho Mancha’ is a joint forum of several state government employees that has been spearheading the ongoing protest.
The protest has spanned several months and is ongoing.