Legislators in Andhra Pradesh are presently enjoying a four-day vacation from the winter Assembly session in Amaravati, after their request for a 'mass leave' was granted by Speaker Kodela Sivaprasada Rao.
The reason? According to NDTV, the lawmakers have chosen these four days, as it is considered an 'auspicious time', when over 1.2 lakh marriages are held across the state.
While bipartisanship may be rare among politicians of different parties, this was not the case this time, as the idea was first pitched by Visakhapatnam BJP MLA Vishnu Kumar Raju, and unanimously agreed upon by TDP members.
The NDTV report adds that at least 100 lawmakers of the ruling TDP had written to the Speaker, following which he acknowledged that "everyone needs to attend weddings and we understand sentiment."
Criticising the move, the President of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the Congress, Raghuveera Reddy, said, â€śAttending marriages seems to be more important to the MLAs than the problems of people.â€ť
The Andhra Pradesh Assembly is presently not at its full capacity, as the main opposition party â€“ the YSRCP â€“ has boycotted the House.
YSRCP chief Jagan Mohan Reddy is demanding action against the legislators who defected from their party to the ruling TDP. In fact, four of the defectors got ministerial berths as well, namely, Adinarayana Reddy, RV Sujay Krishna Ranga Rao, N Amarnath Reddy and Bhuma Akhila Priya.
In March last year, the Assembly passed a Bill which gave legislators a substantial hike in salaries and other facilities provided.
The Bill amended the AP Payment of Salaries and Pension and Removal of Disqualifications Act 1953, to increase the monthly salary of each legislator from Rs 95,000 to Rs 1.25 lakh.
It also included other benefits including doubling of the accommodation allowance and pension to retired members from Rs 25,000, to Rs 50,000.
According to reports, the move by the state government was projected to impose an additional financial burden of Rs 30,62,31,300 per annum.
Only one MLA from the YSRCP had protested the move, even as Jagan also extended his support to the Bill.