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Temporary suspension of MPLADS leads to fissure within the Congress

The government has announced that the amount allocated to each MP under MPLADS will be suspended for two successive years till 2021 and the sum will be sent to the Consolidated Fund.

Updated: Apr 06, 2020 20:09 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times New Delhi

Some of the senior Congress leaders, including the party’s Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh (in photo), welcomed the move. (ANI file photo )

The government’s decision to suspend the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) has led to a fissure within the Congress party, exposing the disconnect between its Lok Sabha (LS) and Rajya Sabha (RS) MPs.

The government has announced that the amount allocated to each MP under MPLADS will be suspended for two successive years till 2021 and the sum will be sent to the Consolidated Fund.

Some of the senior Congress leaders, including the party’s RS member Jairam Ramesh, welcomed the move.

“I have been arguing for long that the approximately Rs7,000 crore given to MPs & MLAs (members of legislative assembly) annually for development works should be used as a corpus for state funding of elections,” he tweeted.



Moments after, his party colleague, Lok Sabha MP Manickram Tagore, tweeted that RS members are not up to speed with realpolitik. “It’s sad that how Rajya Sabha MPs are completely disconnected with the ground reality,” Tagore tweeted.

Tagore told HT that the move to suspend MPLADs is driven by “pure politics”. “It is a well-thought strategy to block Opposition MPs doing anything in their constituencies,” he said.

Another senior Opposition member said that the LS members were anticipating trouble regarding MPLADS funds for a while. “There were strong indications and in a meeting that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders had held with an Opposition party a senior BJP leader had let it slip,” said the leader.

The move has found other supporters and detractors inside the Congress. The party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the move is a “huge disservice”. “Please note that MPLADS is meant to execute developmental works in the constituency. Suspending it is a huge disservice to the constituents & will undermine the role & functions of MP,” he tweeted.

Manish Tiwari called it an overstretch. “MPLADS is a targeted & nimble instrument to customise micro-level interventions to alleviate distress. I think MPLAD funds need to be restored,” he tweeted.

Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor also said that the move was problematic. “MPLADS is the only means for an MP to direct development resources to his constituency. An order to earmark all MPLADS spending for #COVID19 related measures would have been OK; I used mine to get urgently-needed #rapidtestkits & PPE to Thiruvananthapuram’s health workers,” he tweeted.

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