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Kerala MPs take on Panda over Parliament canteen subsidy, target his family business

The MPs from Kerala have asked Panda to first give up benefits and concessions his family-owned company had received earlier, which included a loan waiver of Rs 2300 crore.

News18

Updated:August 7, 2015, 4:35 PM IST
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Kerala MPs take on Panda over Parliament canteen subsidy, target his family business
The MPs from Kerala have asked Panda to first give up benefits and concessions his family-owned company had received earlier, which included a loan waiver of Rs 2300 crore.
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As many as 12 MPs from Kerala have taken on Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Jay Panda over his demand for scrapping subsidy provided to Parliament canteens.

The Odisha MP has defended his demand for scrapping of subsidy even as the MPs from Kerala have shot off a letter to him.

The MPs from Kerala have asked Panda to first give up benefits and concessions his family-owned company had received earlier, which included a loan waiver of Rs 2300 crore.

Panda claimed that the MPs were trying to distract from the canteen subsidy issue by dragging recycled allegations against his family-owned business.

He said, "In my letter I have said that all charges against my family have been refuted. They are decades old and have been argued in court."

Asserting that the "issue of subsidy is resonating with public", Panda said, "It might not be a big issue facing Parliament, but it is a symbolic issue of our VVIP culture."

This comes days after Panda wrote to Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, calling for end of subsidy in Parliament canteens. In his letter to the Speaker, the MP proposed "the removal of food subsidy extended to Members of Parliament".

Panda hailed the recent initiative by the government "to encourage the voluntary giving up of subsidized cooking gas by those citizens who can afford to". Citing an example of the initiative, he said that "MPs too should be willing to give up the food subsidy extended".

"(I) believe the removal of the food subsidy for MPs will be a right step in effecting greater public trust and confidence in our role as lawmakers," said the BJD MP.

CNN-IBN had reported that food served in canteens is subsidised at almost Rs 14 crore a year.

This came even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) defended the subsidy saying members of the media, officials and guests also avail the subsidy in Parliament canteens.

The ruling party had claimed that MPs only constitute 10-15 per cent of those who eat at the canteens.

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