Home minister Amit Shah, while speaking in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established tough norms for himself and follows a protocol in which he has stopped the practice of booking a hotel during technical halts in the course of foreign visits for refuelling of aircraft and stays at airport terminals.
Shah, who was replying to the debate on Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, said that Modi "has started the practice of taking less than 20 per cent staff" during his visits abroad. "Earlier when prime ministers went abroad, a hotel was booked for an overnight stay during technical halts to get fuel. Narendra Modi has till today not booked a hotel during a technical halt. He stays at the airport, takes bath there and proceeds further after refuelling is done. There was an arrangement of separate vehicles for the accompanying staff. He conveyed that four to five people should go in a car or a bus which should be arranged," Shah added. He also said that while Modi follows tough norms, there were those who have made security cover a status symbol and were enjoying the security that is given to the Prime Minister.
Responding to Congress member Gaurav Gogoi, Shah said that the Prime Minister had not violated the SPG protocol during a seaplane ride in Gujarat. The Home Minister also defended PM Modi by saying that the SPG had checked the seaplane and one SPG personnel accompanied the Prime Minister. He further added that Modi had taken personal risk to promote tourism and not violated SPG cover to take a late-night motorcycle ride at 100 km per hour in Lutyens' Delhi.
Additionally, in a bid to take a dig at the Congress supremo, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, he said that those with SPG security should not go without it. "If we have been given security, what is the secret thing we have to do to leave it behind at home. We do not go without security. Rajnath (Singh) Ji is sitting here. For many years, those wearing black uniform (commandos) leave him till the toilet but he never says anything. If security has been provided, why not keep it with you?" he asked.
Shah, while talking about the z-plus security, said that the three Congress leaders, who have now been provided Z-plus security by CRPF, should keep it with them. He also said that Rahul Gandhi had travelled 1,892 times in Delhi and 247 times abroad without informing the SPG after 2015. "Members of the Gandhi family have travelled without informing the SPG 600 times," Shah asserted.
(With ANI Inputs)