PATNA: The Bihar CM wants to scrap tradition of handing out gifts to MLAs. government is considering scrapping the tradition of handing out gifts to its lawmakers days after it provoked a huge controversy.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar wants to do away with the tradition of handing out gifts to lawmakers from various departments of the government but the move needs to be cleared by his cabinet colleagues, official sources said.
Mr Kumar’s government had come under stinging criticism after the state’s education department gave out microwave ovens worth over Rs. 11,000 to each of the 243 legislators in the Budget session of the assembly to thank them for doing their job.
While the government defended the move as a tradition, some leaders of the opposition BJP have already said they will return the gifts.
Senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi announced his intention on Twitter. “Lakhs of school teachers (are) without salary for last four months. Prem Kumar, Mangal Pandey and myself will return gifts like micro oven back to govt (sic),” Mr Modi tweeted.
Defending the practice that has gone on for two decades, including when the BJP was in power for eight years, Education Minister Ashok Chaudhary had said, “It’s just a matter of about 30 lakh rupees. Please don’t hype it up like this. It’s unfair to compare this to other issues like salaries, condition of schools.”
“Our MLAs need to travel to their constituencies to inspect mid-day meals. So when they go, they can take the microwave oven with them and heat food and eat,” he said.