Before Red Rose Welcome For PM, Nitish Kumar's Hold-Up Triggers Red Faces

Closer to the time that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flight was to land, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was moving towards the tarmac at Patna airport when the incident took place. Embarrassed, top Bihar police officers worked the phones to get the centre's Special Protection Group, or SPG, to let the Chief Minister pass.

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Before Red Rose Welcome For PM, Nitish Kumar's Hold-Up Triggers Red Faces

Special Protection Group officers had stopped Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's car at the Patna airport.

PATNA:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed to the state by a smiling Chief Minister Nitish Kumar with a red rose may have been the most publicised sight at the Patna airport on Saturday. But minutes before PM Modi landed at the airport, there were red faces in the Bihar government when PM Modi's special security team refused to allow the bullet-proof car in which the Chief Minister was travelling to reach the tarmac.

The Chief Minister had reached the airport much earlier and had waited at the VIP enclosure at the state's hangar.

Closer to the time that PM Modi's flight was to land, he was moving towards the tarmac when the incident took place. Embarrassed, top Bihar police officers worked the phones to get the centre's Special Protection Group, or SPG, to let the Chief Minister pass.

The SPG relented, but it took a couple of minutes to resolve what could have turned out to be a public embarrassment.

The Special Protection Group, or SPG, which is mandated to guard the Prime Minister, forms the inner ring around the PM and strictly controls access to maintain a sterile zone in the immediate vicinity. That means it has the powers to stop anyone to keep the PM safe, irrespective of the location.

It is to avoid such situations, a Bihar police officer said, that coordination meetings are held by the SPG's advance security liaison teams that finalises PM Modi's itinerary from a security perspective.

That the faux pas still happened was a surprise, he said.

Asked, a senior SPG official attributed the incident to "some confusion" and stressed it was resolved quickly.

He said it is the norm, for example, that the Chief Minister would leave the airport before the Prime Minister does so that he is able to receive the Prime Minister when he reaches his next destination.

In this case the Patna Science College ground where PM Modi and Nitish Kumar shared the stage, the first time after Chief Minister swapped his allies and joined the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance.
 

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