Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today lent his voice to the growing chorus about doing away with MPLAD schemes saying 50 per cent parliamentarians are not in favor of it.
Last month, Union minister Milind Deora had written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking changes in the provisions of the MPLAD scheme or replacing it with a new programme if its provisions cannot be changed.
"I want to tell you a reality. If you ask MPs, at least 50 per cent of MPs will tell you that put an end to this MPLAD scheme because one has to face problems in the Lok Sabha seats as the scheme does not give so much money that development work can be carried out in the entire Parliamentary seat. This is something to think about," Rahul Gandhi said.
He was addressing a meeting of panchayat representatives from over a dozen states as part of the party's programme to involve stakeholders from various sections for its manifesto making exercise for the Lok Sabha polls 2014.
Citing the example of telephone vs PCO revolution in the country, he said that as PCOs took away the monopoly of few in the telephone system, the pradhans will do it in the political system.
"There was a time when 500 MPs used to give the quota of phones and if you did not know any MP, you had to just forget about getting a telephone connection. How was this monopoly broken? This monopoly was broken by opening a PCO," he said.
"In every village, a public call office opened, mobiles came soon after which they are now in everybody's pockets. As the PCO broke the monopoly in the system of telephone allotment, you are also like a PCO for the political system."
Rahul Gandhi also agreed with the contention of a participant that political parties should include the representatives from local bodies in their decision makings and promised that he will ensure that it is done.
"It is true that local body leaders are not consulted. Local body leaders have to have an identity in the party. We are going to do this at least in the Congress party in the near future," he said.
Rahul Gandhi said whenever there is talk about devolution of power and about the 73rd and 74th amendment in the Panchayati Raj Act, people complain that they are not given power.