New Delhi: Rajya Sabha member Naresh Agrawal on Wednesday urged the government to clarify its stand on a parliamentary panel report that recommends hiking the salary of MPs, and alleged that the government was not speaking on the subject due to media pressure.
The Samajwadi Party (SP) leader raised the issue soon after the Upper House met and was supported by Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad.
"A parliamentary committee which decides on the salary and allowance of MPs had given a report which has been suppressed due to media pressure," Agrawal said.
He said the "good conduct" of MPs makes for a salary revision.
"There are many MPs who want this, but are not speaking due to fear. Is the government contemplating accepting the recommendations of the report?," he asked.
"You expect us to maintain three accommodations in this salary? It is not possible... Forget what the media is writing," he said.
Deputy Chairman P.J. Kurien, however, said the question was whether MPs should decide their own salary.
Azad, backing Agrawal, said: "I support my friend from the opposition, especially on the issue of conduct of MPs. Inflation affects everyone, MPs are also hit," he said.
"He is right... we are afraid of the media. One-fourth of the salary of the editors of electronic media would be sufficient," Azad said, tongue in cheek.
A joint committee of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members has prepared a report recommending MPs' monthly salary to be hiked from the present Rs.50,000 to Rs.1 lakh, constituency allowance raised from Rs.45,000 to Rs.90,000 and secretarial assistance plus office allowance from Rs.45,000 to Rs.90,000.
The recommendations have not been made public.
The panel, headed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yogi Adityanath, also recommended around 75 percent raise in pensions and an automatic mechanism for salary hike for MPs.