The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s judicious airport habits have saved the country millions, claimed the Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Lok Sabha on Wednesday. Shah asserted that PM Modi has shunned the tradition of booking a hotel during technical halts on his foreign visits for refuelling of aircraft and instead stays at airport terminals.
Replying to the debate about the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill 2019, Shah said, “In the past when prime ministers travelled overseas, a hotel was booked for an overnight stay during technical halts to get fuel. Narendra Modi has till today not booked a hotel during a technical halt. He waits at the airport, takes bath there and moves further after refuelling is done. He has initiated the practice of taking less than 20 per cent of staff along with him on his foreign visits. There was an arrangement of separate vehicles for the accompanying staff. He said that four to five people should go in a car or a bus which should be provided.”
Responding to the aspersions raised by Congress leader Gaurav Gogoi, Shah clarified that PM Modi has not violated the SPG protocol during a seaplane ride in Gujarat.
Taking a jibe at the Congress leaders and Gandhi family, Shah said that though PM Modi subjects himself to tough norms, there are others who consider security cover as a status symbol. Congress leaders on Wednesday had created a ruckus after security cover provided to Gandhi family members was downgraded.
Targeting the Gandhi family members for repeated violations of SPG cover, Amit Shah listed down the number of instances when the SPG cover was flouted by the Gandhi family. He claimed that on more than 600 occasions, member of Gandhi family went on a trip without taking their SPG cover. Rahul Gandhi, according to Shah, violated SPG norms about 1892 times while travelling in India and about 247 times on his foreign tours since 2015. Essentially, Amit Shah asked the Gandhis why they were so secretive about their trips.