U-turn: Akhilesh withdraws car bonanza for MLAs
By IANS - LUCKNOW
04th July 2012 02:24 PM
Faced with widespread criticism of his decision to allow legislators to buy cars worth Rs.20 lakh from the local area development (LAD) funds, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav did a U-turn Wednesday and withdrew the largesse doled out a day ago.
Announcing this, the chief minister said he had offered the sop as many members of the legislative assembly were not in a position to buy cars.
Saying that the media and the opposition had misinterpreted the thought behind the move, Akhilesh Yadav said he was withdrawing the order with immediate effect.
The grant of freedom to the legislators to buy luxury cars with a price tag of Rs.20 lakh from the local areas development fund had invited flak from all opposition parties.
The Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had announced that their legislators would not avail of the offer since the decision was "anti-people".
The decision would have cost the exchequer Rs.100 crore in five years and deprived various constituencies of development funds.
Faced with opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, the chief minister by Tuesday evening had clarified that a depreciation value was to be fixed and after five years, the legislators must pay the depreciated amount and then buy the car they had acquired from the LAD fund.
Reacting to the withdrawal of the largesse, BSP state president and Leader of Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha Swamy Prasad Maurya said Yadav had proved that he was a "very weak chief minister".
BJP member of parliament from Lucknow Lalji Tandon said the decision to allow legislators to buy cars from LAD funds should not have been taken in the first place.
"It was ill thought of and in bad taste," he said.
Senior BJP leader and legislator Kalraj Mishra said the move was badly conceived and deserved to be withdrawn.
"It caused severe embarrassment for the government," he said.
In the last fortnight, this is the second government decision withdrawn within a day.
Earlier, faced with acute power shortages, the government had asked shops, markets, business establishments and malls in the state to curtail business hours and close down early. Traders had bitterly opposed the move.
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