- We are ensuring VIP culture is removed from minds of VIPs: PM Modi
- The red beacon had become a symbol of VIP culture, he said
- Need to make effort to weed out this culture from minds: PM Modi
Red beacon cars are associated with VIP cavalcades that traditionally shut down traffic for hours and have even cost lives of desperately ill people being ferried to hospitals. They also stand for the 'VIP treatment' given to politicians, which include a number of privileges and concessions denied to ordinary Indians. Many politicians have come to demand nominal checking and separate entrances at airports and free rides through toll gates as their right.
In his monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat, the Prime Minister said no matter how great a person is in India, he will not get to put a red beacon atop his car. "Removing red beacons on the car is one thing. We are ensuring the VIP culture is removed from the minds of the select few 'VIPs'," he said.
"The red beacon had become a symbol of VIP culture which has penetrated deeply into our minds. Removing the red beacon is just part of the system but we need to make a conscious effort to weed out this culture from our minds," he added.
PM Modi had reportedly been emphatic about ending 'lal batti culture'. On April 19, the government had announced that red beacons will have to go from May 1, even for the nation's top office holders, including the Prime Minister and the President. The blue beacons, used for the car preceding a VIP cavalcade, will be allowed only for emergency vehicles like police, ambulances and fire engines.
Following the announcement, leaders of various BJP ruled states said they will forgo red beacon cars immediately.
Some non-BJP states too followed suit. The Congress claimed it had been the first to stop the use of red beacons in Punjab. Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami said he would follow the no-red-beacon tradition set by party chief and former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. After an initial refusal to let go of red beacons before May 1, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, too, had bowed to PM Modi's wishes.