Prime Minister Narendra Modi today became a Margdarshak in Delhi when he shunned the VVIP culture of `lal bathi’ and went to the Delhi Airport without stopping traffic on route.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today became a margdarshak in Delhi when he shunned the VVIP culture and went to the Indira Gandhi International Airport without the trademark blaring sirens or disrupting traffic.
In the scorching Delhi heat and packed traffic jams, he broke security protocols and travelled from his Lok Kalyan Marg residence in central Delhi to the airport in normal traffic without causing inconvenience to the public.
Modi went 10 km to the airport as an ordinary citizen and set an example to his ministers, chief ministers and others who love to flaunt their status by even stopping ambulances drive. His convoy comprised just one extra car for security.
Narendra Modi was going to the airport to receive his Bangladesh counterpart Shiek Hasina, who is on a four-day visit to India to discuss bilateral ties.
Modi’s gig sets a stage for other cabinet ministers and bureaucrats who care less about the public and more about their VIP ‘status’.
Delhi is the capital of such VVIP culture where even low ranking municipal officers put blaring sirens atop their cars and demand a convoy.
There have been cases where Chief Ministers and political party heads were seen with a convoy of over 20 cars, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
VVIP culture is also rampant at toll booths. In the most recent incident, a Special Protection Unit (SPU) constable posted in security convoy of Shiv Sena cabinet minister Eknath Shinde ransacked a toll booth and ‘unintentionally’ injured a staff at the toll naka in Nashik as the minister’s vehicle was not given a ‘VVIP treatment.’
This is not a first of its kind case. There have been several other cases and a lot of them from Maharashtra.
The Supreme Court, in February, frowned upon the VVIP culture when a petition filed by senior counsel Harish Salve gave details about the misuse of the state machinery in blocking roads to give priority passage to VIPs, “flashing red lights” atop their cars and blowing sirens to intimidate the public. The Bench remarked, “the threat perception becomes a symbol of power” and asked the government to give details of such arrangements and expenditure incurred.
V Balachandran, a former cabinet secretariat, condemned the VIP culture in a report and said, “all over the world coloured beacons are allowed only on emergency vehicles travelling on emergency duties. Blowing sirens is strictly forbidden, unless in cases of emergency. “
The Centre and state governments must furnish strict rules and indicate who are entitled to have red beacons and high security.
Last month, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath aunched a crackdown on VIP culture in the state by issuing orders that no minister in the state government will be allowed to use the red beacons atop vehicles.
When the PM could do it so effortlessly, why can’t ministers and bureaucrats across India do the same? He has set a high example for others to follow. But will the power and VVIP status hungry politicians pay heed?