Army chief General Bikram Singh has promised to ensure that his movement in the Capital will not lead to chaos on the roads, a day after rural development minister Jairam Ramesh fumed over being stuck in traffic due to the passage of the chief’s motorcade.
Sources also added that the army chief called up Ramesh on Thursday to express regret over the episode, which was described as “ridiculous VVIP culture” by the minister, who himself refrains from using a red beacon atop his official car.
It is learnt Singh also explained to Ramesh that he shared the minister’s views that security detail linked with VVIP movement should not throw traffic out of gear, creating a headache for commuters on the road.
A former chief told HT that VVIPS had taken umbrage at being held up in traffic due to the army chief’s movement from his house to the South Block office in the past too. “The convoy doesn’t really cause a jam. It’s just a matter of a minute or two.”
The chief’s motorcade usually consists of five vehicles, including a pilot car, a back-up car and a vehicle with jamming equipment.
Ramesh, who got stuck near the chief’s house on Rajaji Marg on Wednesday, had questioned the elaborate security arrangement for service chiefs: “It is ridiculous. Even AK Antony (defence minister) has no such security. But the military has its own policemen regulating traffic.”
Ramesh had earlier threatened to take up the matter with Antony, but that may not be required now.
The minister’s public protest comes at a time when political parties, especially the Congress, are trying to come to terms with the Aam Aadmi Party’s much-hyped thumbs down to VVIP culture and sticking to a down-to-earth lifestyle.