With two senior party legislators not paying up their dues amounting to Rs.1.30 lakh each, the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee is now contemplating putting in place an electronic clearance system so that dues from all the MLAs could be deposited directly into the party account.
Sources in the party said in 2001 the All-India Finance Committee of the All-India Congress Committee chaired by Manmohan Singh had issued directions that all MLAs and MPs of the Congress would contribute a month’s salary every year to the party fund. This was seen as a logical step towards transparent functioning of the various party units.
However, in Delhi the party unit has over the past many years seen deliberate defiance on the part of some legislators who chose not to clear their dues despite repeated reminders.
Ironically in 2005, the DPCC managed to gets all the dues cleared when it did not have a president. At that time AICC general secretary Ashok Gehlot had issued instructions that irregularity in payments would not be tolerated and all dues were then cleared by the party MLAs.
But in the years since, dues again started accumulating and at the moment there are two very senior legislators who owe the party Rs.1.30 lakh each for five financial years including the current fiscal.
“As repeated reminders have failed to elicit the necessary response, we have decided to go for an electronic clearance system under which all the legislators would be required to instruct their bank to credit a month’s salary every year in favour of DPCC,” said a party source.
The move would also do away with the need for sending reminders to the various MLAs and Ministers. “The funds are important as the salaries have risen from about Rs.16,500 per month earlier to Rs.32,000 per month now. So with 42 MLAs it is a matter of over Rs.13 lakh per annum for the party unit.”
Incidentally, while at the time of issuing the party symbols during the 2008 Assembly elections, the DPCC had insisted that the candidates clear their dues before they would be given the official letters, it could not impose the same diktat on the two senior leaders.
The DPCC is hopeful of finding a lasting solution to the problem.