New Delhi: Amid controversy over subsidised food in Parliament canteen, an SP member on Monday said there was a "conspiracy" to sully the image of parliamentarians and asked the government to come out with details on how many MPs
actually eat in the canteen.
Virtually in agreement with SP's Naresh Agarwal, Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad termed the matter as "a very serious issue" as it involved the prestige of the House.
Raising the issue as soon as the House met for the day, Agarwal said there was a "conspiracy to sully the image of members of Parliament" in the raising of the issue relating to the huge subsidy bill of the Parliament canteen.
He wanted the government to give data on how many MPs actually consumed canteen food as well as how many Parliament staff, security personnel and journalists ate the same below market priced food.
"We condemn attempts to sully the image of MPs. The House should pass a resolution on it," Agarwal said.
While Minister of State for Parliament Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the government was ready for a discussion on the issue, Prasad said a very serious issue has been raised by Agarwal and as it involved prestige of the House, a discussion can start immediately.
Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said asked members to move appropriate motion for a discussion. "Since there is no motion, I cannot allow discussion," he said.
Days after a Minister said 'no work, no pay' should be applicable to MPs as well, Congress member Satyavrat Chaturvedi said he supported the concept and demanded that the principle be applied retrospectively from 2004 and any over-payment done without work being transacted in Parliament be recovered.
Chaturvedi made the statement as an apparent dig at the BJP which had disrupted Parliament session after session over telecom and coal scams during the erstwhile UPA rule since 2004.
Earlier, Congress members from Andhra Pradesh held placards demanding special status to the state. "Implement Special Status for Andhra Pradesh State," the placards read.
Kurien asked members not to display posters, saying this was against rules. He said he was ready to allow a discussion on the issue but wanted members to give notice. "They (government) cannot respond to indiscipline. This is indiscipline for which treasury benches cannot respond."
Prasad said the government was ready for a debate on Telengana and Andhra Pradesh.
"Government has already said they are ready for discussion on this Andhra issue. Give notice," Kurien said.