The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Akhilesh Yadav, announced on Tuesday a controversial proposal to allow MLAs to buy four-wheelers worth up to Rs 20 lakh and pay their depreciated value after five years to retain them.

The announcement by the Chief Minister in the State Assembly sparked immediate reaction from the BJP, BSP and Congress leaders who said the move would send a wrong message as the money to be used for buying the vehicles would come from MLAs’ local area development fund.

“Despite a financial crisis, the SP government has fulfilled all the promises it made in the party manifesto in the budget. MLAs are allowed to purchase vehicles up to Rs 20 lakh from their local area development fund,” the Chief Minister said.

He said that value of the vehicle will be depreciated every year and at the end of five years, the MLAs could deposit the depreciated amount to retain the vehicle or otherwise hand it over to the government.

“This will help MLAs who do not have money to buy a vehicle,” Mr Akhilesh Yadav said, adding that the Government would not pay for maintenance of the vehicle.

He also announced the decision to hike the MLA fund by Rs 25 lakh from Rs 1.25 crore to Rs 1.50 crore.

“The decision to buy vehicles will not send a good message to the electorate. Even MLAs buying vehicles with their own money would look as if they have used public money for the purpose. We, BJP members, will not purchase vehicles with money from the development fund,” BJP leader, Mr Hukum Singh, said.

BSP leader Mr Swami Prasad Maurya said that the decision would not send a good message to the public and maintained that alternative arrangements would be made by the party for the purpose of purchasing vehicles.

“BSP members will not be utilising their development fund for buying vehicles,” Mr Maurya said.

Congress leader, Mr Pramod Tiwari, aired similar views and said that the Chief Minister should increase the MLA area development fund and reminded him about the announcement in this regard made by SP supremo Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav in the House in 2007.

(This article was published on July 3, 2012)
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