Tuesday , May 3 , 2011
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Since 1st March, 1999
> Patna Diary
Taxing task for legislators
Legislators of Bihar were extremely pleased when the Nitish Kumar government announced a hefty pay —hike - a salary of over Rs 80,000 per month. Some of them openly declared that they would have been happier had the amount exceeded Rs 1 lakh per month. However, few of them realised that with their basic salary of Rs 25,000 a month their income will now be taxable. arlier, a legislator’s basic salary was Rs 8000 per month, keeping him/her off the tax bracket. “It’s simple. You will just have to pay about Rs 12,000 as income tax (I-T) and if you purchase NSCs or mutual fund, you will not have to pay even that,” explained a legislator to another colleague. However, the colleague still appeared unhappy. “This hike was supposedly given because our local development fund was taken away. The kickbacks from the local fund were much simpler. We did not have to go through the complex process of filling forms,” he said. A good number of legislators are businessmen and are hence quite familiar with the process of paying I-T and filing returns. However, for some hardcore politicians I-T is as complicated as information technology. “When the government decided to provide laptops to legislators, they organised a training session. Perhaps they should hold a training session on how to file I-T returns,” quipped an MLA.
Cadre versus caste
The BJP appears to be following the footsteps of its ally JD (U) in holding functions to celebrate icons of Bihar. These functions, however, have clear caste undercurrents. Within one week, the BJP organised two events - one to celebrate Vijayutsav in the memory of Veer Kuer Singh and the other, birth anniversary of Baba Chauharmal. Present state BJP president C.P. Thakur insisted that these functions had nothing to do with caste appeasement. However, the hardcore RSS group within the BJP are unconvinced. “We have been a cadre-based party and our cadres come from all castes. The series of caste shows are harming our cadre base. The JD (U) can afford to host these caste shows but not the BJP,” said a BJP leader with a strong RSS background. Till now, the state BJP is sticking to the rule -- follow the leader (Nitish Kumar).
Food for thought
The crowd brought to SK Memorial Hall by political parties is mostly lured with the promise of free transportation to the venue and free food (sometimes even money). However, the “bait” got the better of the meet agenda at a recent BJP function. Even before the main speaker, deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, could speak, there were whispers in the hall that food was being served to the visitors. Within few minutes, the strength of the hall was reduced to half as people rushed towards the food corner. BJP leaders loyal to Modi alleged the whispering campaign about the food was triggered off by his adversaries within the party.
Deputy leader of the NDA in the Legislative Council and BJP leader Ganga Prasad is often referred to as an ageless wonder”. Thin and it, Prasad often makes ther leaders wonder what his real age is. At a recent unction at the house f an MLC to celebrate the arriage silver jubilee of the legislator’s kin, a few ministers remarked that Ganga Babu would be celebrating 50 years of his marriage soon. Road construction minister Nand Kishore Yadav went on to suggest the party leader may celebrate his 60th marriage anniversary. Ganga Prasad, however, refused to give way his age.
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