West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee’s Bold Move: Salary Boost for MLAs
In a significant development, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on the 7th of September, made a groundbreaking announcement concerning a substantial salary increase for Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) in West Bengal. The news was reported by the esteemed news agency PTI.
Why the Salary Hike Matters
Addressing the West Bengal Assembly, Chief Minister Banerjee emphasized the need for this change, citing the disparity between the salaries of West Bengal’s MLAs compared to their counterparts in other states. To rectify this imbalance, it was decided that the salaries of MLAs in West Bengal would receive a substantial boost of ₹40,000 per month.
Exception: The Chief Minister’s Salary
Interestingly, while advocating for the well-deserved pay raise for MLAs, Chief Minister Banerjee clarified that her own salary would remain unchanged. She revealed that she had voluntarily abstained from drawing a salary for an extended period.
Delving into the Details
Although Chief Minister Banerjee did not provide a detailed breakdown of the revised compensation package for MLAs, it’s important to note that it includes various allowances and additional pay for their roles as members of various standing committees.
A Symbolic Celebration: Poila Baisakh as Bengal Day
In a separate development on the same day, the West Bengal Assembly passed a resolution with a majority vote, designating Poila Baisakh (Bengali New Year) on April 15 as “Bengal Day.” This move carries significant cultural and historical importance for the state.
A Defiant Stance
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, known for her unwavering determination, announced that Bengal Day would be observed irrespective of the state governor’s approval. Her recent interactions with the governor have been marked by heated exchanges.
The Votes That Counted
The resolution to declare Poila Baisakh as “Bangla Diwas” and to adopt Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Banglar Mat, Banglar Jol’ (Bengal’s soil, Bengal’s Water) as the official state song received widespread support. A total of 167 members out of 294 in the House voted in favor of this resolution.
However, it’s worth noting that 62 MLAs from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which advocates for observing June 20 as the state day in memory of the Bengal partition, voted against this resolution. Meanwhile, the lone Indian Secular Front (ISF) MLA abstained from voting.
A Historical Perspective
The resolution under Rule 169 that proposed the observance of Poila Baisakh as “Bangla Diwas” and the adoption of Rabindranath Tagore’s composition as the state song carries significant historical significance. Chief Minister Banerjee lent her support to this move, stating, “I support the proposal of making Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Banglar Mati Banglar Jol’ the official song of Bengal. People of Bengal don’t support June 20, which is synonymous with violence and bloodshed, which marked partition as the state foundation day.”
In conclusion, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to increase the salaries of MLAs in West Bengal and her firm stance on the state’s cultural identity reflect her commitment to both governance and preserving the rich heritage of the region. This move is poised to have a lasting impact on the political and cultural landscape of the state.