Lok Satta

Friday, 20 August 2010 00:00

Can a commoner enter legislature, asks Lok Satta


It is odd that lawmakers plan to enact a law that benefits only them, said the Lok Satta Party today on the demand for a hike in MPs’ salaries.


It would be in the fitness of things if the 15th Lok Sabha cleared a hike in pay and perquisites for members of the 16th Lok Sabha. There is such a precedent in the U. S. President Clinton signed the law that provided for a hike in the salary of the next incumbent.


In a media statement, party General Secretary Katari Srinivasa Rao said that the demand for a higher salary by MPs is understandable. Expecting elected representatives to spend out of their pocket is not proper. At the same time, salaries should not become a source of income. Instead, they should earn income through some honest means.


The real issue, however, is not MPs’ salaries. Scores of MPs do not need any salary at all since they happen to be millionaires. Apparently, only those who can spend millions of rupees can step into legislature portals these days. Democracy faces a grave threat if one can enter legislature only with the help of money and not on the strength of one’s policies and programs. When a majority of people goes unrepresented because of the influence of money, the divide between the rulers and the ruled widens and triggers unrest. The MPs should focus on such disturbing developments, instead of only on their salaries.