'In the last decade, Parliamentarians had sought for an increase of 400 per cent for their compensation.'
'Have we really earned this massive increment?'
Just two general election campaigns ago, Feroze Varun Gandhi was deemed red a hellraiser after he delivered controversial speeches that reportedly attacked Muslims and earned him the Election Commission's censure.
After he won his first election to the Lok Sabha from Pilibhit -- the Uttar Pradesh constituency previously represented by his mother Maneka Gandhi -- Feroze Varun sobered up as a politician, speaking with some intellectual rigour on issues that concerned him.
Though he was given an election ticket in 2014 by the new regime in his Bharatiya Janata Party -- this time from Sultanpur; Maneka returned to Pilibhit -- and won a second term in the House of the People, Feroze Varun appears an outsider in current BJP politics, apparently viewed with scepticism by the man BJP leaders hail as Chanakya and kow-tow to.
His mother would have liked him to be the BJP's chief ministerial candidate in UP -- as his grandmother Indira Gandhi in 1980 wanted his father Sanjay Gandhi to be -- but that didn't come to pass.
Feroze Varun was never in the running, and the BJP's dual Gujarati power centres preferred another party MP to be UP chief minister.
In March 2017, a week or so before the UP assembly election results, Feroze Varun moved a private member's bill in the Lok Sabha to enable voters to recall their representatives.
On Tuesday, August 1, the MP from Sultanpur made an unusual intervention in the Lok Sabha, criticising MPs and legislators for recommending pay hikes for themselves.
'Have we really earned this massive increment?' Feroze Varun asked the House.
'Looking at the condition of the country,' he recommended in a brief speech -- that may not have been popular with other MPs, but which could have earned him brownie points with sections of the Indian electorate that believe MPs are over paid -- 'we should forego any increase in compensation for the rest of this 16th Lok Sabha.'
- You can read Feroze Varun Gandhi's speech here
IMAGE: Feroze Varun Gandhi greets supporters as he leaves a court in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh. Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters