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Guj ex-MLAs' group demands pension, healthcare facilities

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Press Trust of India Ahmedabad
A body representing former legislators of Gujarat has accused the state government of not paying attention to their plight, and demanded pension and other facilities for those colleagues who it claimed were unable to make both ends meet.
The demand was put forward by an outfit called the Gujarat Ex MLA Council, having 400 members and headed by former MLA Babubhai Shah, a finance minister in the earlier Congress government in the state.
Addressing a press meet on the issue in Gandhinagar on Friday, Shah said there are at least 150 MLAs in Gujarat who living under extremely poor conditions because of no support from the government.
He claimed he had written seven letters in the last two years to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani to hold a meeting with the ex-MLA council but the state government had not reverted.
"Among all the 29 states in the country, Gujarat is the only one where there are no provision of pension to former MLAs. Neighbouring Maharashtra gives Rs 40,000 as pension to such legislators. Ex-MLAs from Gujarat are also not entitled to get medical facilities available to sitting MLAs," Shah told reporters.
According to Shah, the demand for pension is only for those former MLAs who are financially weak and do not have any other source of income.
"Around 150 former MLAs are living under extremely poor conditions. When they became MLAs many years ago, their salaries were very low. They are now finding it difficult to make both ends meet. We are not demanding pension for the rich. Our demand is for these needy former MLAs," said Shah.
"A proposal to give pension to former MLAs was under consideration during the past Congress rule. However, it was shelved then fearing public backlash. But people need to understand these MLAs contributed to the development of this state and they still help people of their respective areas in solving various issues," Shah claimed.
Former health minister Jay Narayan Vyas, part of the ex-MLA council, supported Shah's views.
"We are not demanding pension for former MLAs like me. We want it for those who are in dire need of financial support to survive. Further, we want the government to consider former legislators at par with sitting MLAs when it comes to medical treatment. If former MPs can get pension, then why not former legislators," Vyas asked.

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First Published: Jun 28 2019 | 7:25 PM IST

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