New Delhi: In a bid to embarrass the opposition, Union minister Ananth Kumar on Wednesday said MPs of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would forego their salary for the 23 days of the ongoing budget session when Parliament did not function because of protests by the Congress and other political parties.

Kumar blamed the Congress for the logjam in both the Houses of Parliament, saying that it had engaged in “anti-democratic" politics. The Congress, along with other opposition parties had stopped important bills from being passed, which led to a “criminal wastage" of the taxpayer’s money, the parliamentary affairs minister told reporters in New Delhi.

“We discussed the issue with the prime minister, the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) president and other NDA constituents and decided to give up the salary of 23 days of the part II of the budget session...the money is given to us to serve the people. Since no issues of public interest were discussed and no legislative business could be transacted, we are returning the money back to the people," Kumar said at a hurriedly-convened press conference.

He alleged that the Congress was increasingly becoming intolerant of people’s mandate for the Modi government. “That is why they are indulging in negative politics by stalling Parliament," he claimed. Kumar said that despite being the principal opposition party, the Congress is not playing a constructive role in running Parliament.

“Notices of no confidence motion (against the government) were first brought by the YSR Congress, TDP and now the Congress. When we are ready to discuss the motion and issues such as banking fraud, why don’t they let the house function," he said.

The MPs of the NDA, which includes the BJP and several of its allies, would give up their salary for the disrupted period of the session, he said. The second part of the session which began on 5 March, is scheduled to end on Friday.

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