- Won't take salaries for the 23 days that parliament did not function
- First time in recent years that lawmakers have decided to forgo salary
- Government stares at a washed-out second half of Budget session
This is the first time in recent decades that lawmakers have decided to forgo their salary. There have, of and on, been calls to introduce the principle of "no work, no pay" for lawmakers. But this provision wasn't incorporated in the law pushed through parliament by the government that has given lawmakers a huge pay hike, and an automatic raise every five years.
Ananth Kumar's announcement at a hurriedly-convened media briefing comes amid speculation that the government was in favour of adjourning parliament on Thursday, instead of Friday as scheduled earlier.
Wednesday's decision is seen as an effort to pin the blame for the disruptions in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on the opposition that had moved a no-confidence motion against the government.
"This money is given to serve the people and if we are not able to do, so we have no right to take the people's money," Anant Kumar declared.
"The Congress is engaging in anti-democratic politics by stopping important bills from being passed leading to criminal wastage of taxpayers' money," the Union Minister said, echoing a point that the government has been making for the last few weeks.
The opposition, however, has contested this narrative, arguing that parties such as the AIADMK, which are known to be friendly to the ruling BJP, were disrupting parliament at the behest of the ruling coalition to ensure that the no-trust motion proposed by opposition parties was not taken up.
In the Rajya Sabha, on Wednesday, the opposition parties blocked the government from pushing through changes to the anti-corruption law because they had not been able to raise the issues that affect people all these days.
"While we are responsible for the passage of the Bills, at the same time, we are also responsible - and, we have been mandated so -- to raise the issues that are concerning the millions and millions of people of India," leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad told the Rajya Sabha.