Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said here on Wednesday that the government did not think that members of the Assembly should pay professional tax to the city corporation.

The Chief Minister was responding to questions from the media at his Cabinet briefing about the demand made by the Thiruvananthapuram City Corporation for deduction of the tax from the salaries of the members.

Mr. Chandy said that the members were receiving only a small amount as salary and the balance were allowances.

When reporters brought to his attention that the local fund audit had objected to non-collection of tax from the members, the Chief Minister said that the Corporation should have brought the matter to the notice of the Speaker or the government instead of making a demand for tax.

On the Corporation’s view that the government should issue an order exempting the legislators from the tax, Mr. Chandy noted that the tax was not being collected till now though there was no order.

On a question about the financial difficulties of the State government, Mr. Chandy said that he had admitted difficulties at an earlier briefing. The Cabinet had also discussed all aspects of the problem.

To a question about elections to the district cooperatives, the Chief Minister said that the government was in no way curtailing democracy. The previous government had captured the cooperatives by cancelling memberships of various primary societies. The present government was only restoring those memberships which were denied to them undemocratically. “Memberships were denied (by previous government) to enable some people to gain control of their governing bodies. The outcome of the elections after restoration of the memberships is to be seen.”

Mr. Chandy said that Kerala Congress (B) leader R. Balakrishna Pillai had met him and conveyed inner party issues to him. He would discuss the matter with his colleagues. (The Kerala Congress (B) had expressed displeasure over the functioning of its nominee in the Cabinet.)

He reiterated that there was no issue over sharing of top posts in government corporations and boards in the United Democratic Front.

The headline of this article is corrected for accuracy.