Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami has tabled an amendment in the state assembly to pave way for almost doubling the salary of the state's 235 legislators - from Rs 55,000 to 1.05 lakh a month.
The government is pushing for the implementation of the proposal -- announced in July last year - days after refusing a salary hike demanded by striking bus workers, citing losses incurred by the state transport corporations. The strike by the transport workers is on its seventh day.
The hike, if implemented, is expected to cost the state exchequer Rs 14 crore a year.
The proposal for the salary hike had come last June amid a stark agrarian crisis in the state. At least 19 farmers had committed suicide last year and many of the families had been on protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.
Mr Palaniswami had claimed at the time that the hike was being made at the instance of the Congress - a statement the party had furiously denied.
TTV Dhinakaran, the sidelined AIADMK leader who recently won the by-elections to Chennai's RK Nagar - the constituency represented by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa - also ridiculed the government's proposal.
"Salary hike for the MLAs is needless when the government has no money to pay transport workers. I would oppose the amendment tabled in the assembly," he said.
Mr Dhinakaran also suggested that Mr Palaniswami was doubling the salary of his legislators to ensure their loyalty. After he won the by-elections, Mr Dhinakaran's supporters had claimed that legislators from the merged AIADMK, will switch camp.
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