While for years the concept of 'Lal Batti' has come to convey certain people's 'importance' vis-a-vis regular citizens, it now appears as though the term's meaning is beginning to normalise for one and all, i.e. that a red light (signal) means 'stop', and a small proof of this has come in from the very top.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi willingly braved the Saturday morning traffic in the National Capital as he declined to put in place the usual protocol for his convoy as it made its way to a school in Paharganj, thereby standing true to what he had said a few days earlier about seeking a change in the culture of VIP (Very Important Person) to one of EPI (Every Person is Important).
Following his televised pan-India video-conferencing interaction with citizens including Amitabh Bachchan, Ratan Tata, Jaggi Vasudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, and also Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, at the launch of the 'Swachhata Hi Seva' movement, the Prime Minister, as per sources, made a spur of the moment decision to flag off the campaign on-ground at the Baba Sahib Ambedkar Secondary school at Paharganj.
In an effort to cause the least possible inconvenience for the citizens of Delhi over the course of the almost 8 km drive, a significant part of which goes through a densely-populated area, the Prime Minister decided to sidestep invoking the usual protocol which would have seen the Delhi Police implementing roadblocks, temporarily obstructing lane-traffic and creating a corridor for the PM's convoy. The 10-minute notice that was given to the SPG detail turned out to be sufficient, however, to prepare a formidable convoy, though, as can be evidenced in the pictures, the cavalcade did have to face traffic and halt at Red signals.
This is hardly the first time that the Prime Minister has bent the protocol regarding his own personal movement. Following the demise of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, PM Modi walked openly with the funeral procession for six kilometres to the funeral venue, and on other occasions as well, has taken measures to ensure least traffic disruption, especially when he makes his way to the airport.
Earlier on Saturday, the Prime Minister has launched the 'Swachhata Hi Seva' campaign which will continue till Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary on October 2 and focuses on the Father of the Nation's dream of a clean India, which the Prime Minister has championed since the very first months of his term with the 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan'. After the video-conferencing of almost two hours, the Prime Minister took up a broom himself at the Paharganj School, with union ministers also following suit in different parts of the country.