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Yogi Adityanath beats Narendra Modi’s deadline on red beacons

The Adityanath government has also decided to reduce the number of security personnel engaged in VIP duty in Uttar Pradesh.

lucknow Updated: Apr 21, 2017 11:48 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
beacons,lal batti,VIP culture
UP’s health minister Siddharth Nath Singh who had stopped using hooters even before the CM’s advice was among the first to remove red beacons from their vehicles along with power minister Shrikant Sharma.(Mujeeb Faruqui/HT Photo)

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath removed the red beacon from his car and ordered the same for all his ministers and officials from Friday, nine days before it was to be effected as per the Centre’s order.

The decision taken by Adityanath, after Thursday’s midnight presentations of various government departments, is in line with Narendra Modi government’s decision to reduce ‘VIP culture’.

“The (no-beacon travel) decision would be implemented with immediate effect,” Adityanath ordered, complimenting the Prime Minister.

Along with this, the Adityanath government has also decided to reduce the number of security personnel engaged in VIP duty in the state.

A comprehensive review of threat perception to those extended security cover has already been ordered.

Several ministers started removing beacons even before the CM made the order official.

Soon after being sworn in on March 19, Adityanath had advised his ministers against using hooters in their vehicle, an advice that was followed by all his 46 ministers.

UP health minister Siddharth Nath Singh, who had stopped using hooters even before the CM’s advice, was, along with power minister Shrikant Sharma, among the first to remove the beacons from their vehicles.

After deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya removed the beacon from his official vehicle himself on Thursday, others joined in.

From social welfare minister Ramapati Shastri to agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi, technical education minister Gopal Tandon and SPS Baghel, the animal husbandry minister, Dr Mahendra Singh, virtually everyone seemed to be in a hurry to take off the ‘lal battis’, that were mostly flaunted as power symbols.

Over the years, people, including activists like city-based surgeon Dr R K Verma had written several letters to Prime Minister Modi as well as the Supreme Court seeking an immediate end to ‘beacon politics that was reminiscent of VIP culture’.

“I don’t even know if the PM actually ever read those seven letters that I wrote to him over the last few years but the decision is immensely satisfying for people like us,” Verma said.

Quick to realise the public mood, the ministers said the move would bring the government closer to the people.

“We are against this VIP culture of flaunting power. Our government is devoted to the poor, dalits and marginalised, and this decision reflects our desire to bridge the distance between the government and the people,” deputy CM Maurya said.

“After no-hooters, the rate at which UP ministers have started taking the beacons off their vehicles shows our government’s desire to come closer to the real masters: the people who elect us,” agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi said.

In 2013, the apex court had described the use of beacon by ministers and government officials as ‘ridiculous’.

Interestingly, around the same time, an RTO official in Rampur took off the red beacon from the then Rampur MP Jaya Prada’s official vehicle, triggering a controversy of sorts.

First Published: Apr 21, 2017 09:50 IST