Lucknow: A day after facing heat from every corner for allowing MLAs to buy four-wheelers worth upto Rs 20 lakh from their local area development fund, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday took a U-turn on his decision.

“I take back my decision of allowing MLAs to buy cars from state fund as the decision is being criticized from every corner” the UP Chief Minister told reporters here on Wednesday.

Akhilesh’s gift to UP MLAs

On Tuesday, the Samajwadi Party government in Uttar Pradesh announced a controversial proposal to allow MLAs to buy four-wheelers worth upto Rs 20 lakh from their local area development fund, which was also increased by Rs 25 lakh.

Akhilesh said each of the 403 MLAs in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly can use up to Rs 20 lakh out of the Rs 5 crore allotted during a five-year tenure to buy vehicles. If all the MLAs buy a vehicle worth Rs 20 lakh, the cost to the state exchequer is said to be more than Rs 80 crore.

"Despite a financial crisis, the SP government has fulfilled all the promises it made in the party manifesto inthe budget. MLAs are allowed to purchase vehicles upto Rs 20 lakh from their local area development fund", the Chief Minister said on Tuesday.

"This will help MLAs who do not have money to buy a vehicle", Akhilesh Yadav said on Tuesday, adding that the government would not pay for maintenance of the vehicle.

Backlash over car bonanza

The Chief Minister’s announcement in the state Assembly sparked immediate reaction from BJP, BSP and Congress leaders who said the move would send a wrong message as the money to be used for buying the vehicles would come from MLAs' local area development fund.

"The decision to buy vehicles will not send a good message to the electorate. Even MLAs buying vehicles with their own money would look as if they have used public money for the purpose. We, BJP members, will not purchase vehicles with money from the development fund", BJP leader Hukum Singh said.

(Agencies)

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