- In ensuring that his convoy heading towards Delhi Airport didn't disrupt regular traffic, the Prime Minister on Saturday dealt an innocuous yet meaningful example against the deep-rooted VVIP culture
- It wasn't the first time he's said 'no' where the prevailing entitlement among sections of the political class would have rendered it easier to just say let the status-quo remain
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often spoken of his commitment to end the VVIP culture that has prevailed in India for decades, and set an innocuous but deeply meaningful example on Saturday by practising what he preaches.
PM Modi on Saturday morning ensured his convoy didn’t disrupt the traffic as it passed through Delhi. While security forces were present near the road divider, they didn’t block traffic movement on either of the lanes.
Here are 4 other times when PM Modi set an example against VVIP culture:
- In a departure from what had become standard protocol, PM Modi first travelled with no traffic blockades on October 20, 2014, when he attended the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) convocation ceremony.
- Differentiating himself from the freebie-loving members of the political class, PM Modi brought his own lunch to a public meeting that he addressed in December 2016 in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. BJP’s Twitter handle shared photos of the PM sharing a meal with the party members and captioned it, "Such equality is possible only in BJP.” At the meet, everyone was asked to bring their own tiffin. The Prime Minister said he brought his own food since he too is a ‘karyakarta’ (party worker).
- In April 2017, the Modi-led government banned the culture of flashing red beacons, more popularly known as ‘laal batti’, with effect from May 1 that year in a bid to establish the concept of ‘New India’ that stresses on ‘EPI’ – Every Person is Important’.
- In May 2017, the Prime Minister was in Kedarnath to offer his prayers to Lord Shiva. Setting the example of saying ‘no’ to VVIP culture, PM Modi stopped a man from helping him untie his shoes. As he was entering the temple, he sat down to take off his shoes at which point a man offered to help him untie his laces but the enthusiastic offer was politely declined.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi offers his prayers at Kedarnath. (ANI image)
This contrasts starkly with examples we're familiar with, such as the likes of Jharkhand Chief Minister, Raghubar Das, getting his feet washed in milk by two women on camera, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan being carried by two police officers through flood-hit district of the state, Congress President Rahul Gandhi allowing a Congress lawmaker and former union minister to offer his slippers to him while he took a tour of flood-hit Puducherry and BJP MP, Hukumdev Narayan Yadav, riding alone in a bus from Patna airport to catch a flight while his co-passengers were left waiting, among many other examples of shocking misuse of VVIP privilege.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan being carried by two police officers through flood-hit district of the state in August 2016 (Source: Twitter)