Agriculture minister Narendra Singh alights from his beacon-fitted vehicle at the Assembly. Telegraph picture
The Aam Aadmi Party has united parties here against it. Cutting across party lines, Bihar politicians have come down heavily on it for its move to curb the VIP culture.
They feel security and special treatment are a politician’s birthright, a must for their security. Some went on to say that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal was a novice to politics and was fooling Delhi’s residents with his “gimmicks”.
Talking during the vote of confidence on Thursday, Kejriwal had reiterated that the VIP culture of Indian politics must end. He has already turned down Z-class security offered by Delhi Police, writing to them: “God is my biggest security.”
In fact, not just his own, Kejriwal has also asked his ministers and MLAs to shun security.
However, Bihar leaders feel that in the context of Bihar, Kejriwal’s ideology and philosophy were impractical. Ministers here do not support Kejriwal’s stand on giving up security.
Talking to The Telegraph, agriculture department minister Narendra Singh said: “He has just taken birth in the field of politics and doesn’t even know the A, B, C & D of it. Kejriwal does not have any vision and principles and is just fooling Delhi’s residents. Ye taam jhaam zyada din nahi chalne wala hai (This showing-off will not last long).”
He went on to say: “Delhi is very small state compared to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. He can do all this over there but the same is not possible in Bihar. Why should a minister give up his security? There is no logic behind it and I totally condemn his idea of ending the VIP culture.”
Rural works minister Bhim Singh echoed Narendra Singh in expressing his strong reservations about ministers forgoing VIP treatment. When told that Kejriwal himself travels in a small car and stops at traffic signals like other commuters despite being a chief minister, Singh said: “In principle, I support Kejriwal. But as far as ending the VIP culture is concerned, I have strong reservations about his comments. VIPs are not ordinary citizens. Their time will always be more precious than that of the common man. Kejriwal was earlier a common man but now he is a chief minister and when status changes the role should also change.”
He also argued about Delhi being a more organised city with better infrastructure like flyovers, bridges, roads, and better traffic system as against Bihar. “Here (in Bihar), ministers require VIP status and security cover. Otherwise it is impossible for a minister to perform his duties. I hope in the coming days, Kejriwal, too, will need VIP treatment and security cover,” Singh said.
The Bihar ministers who are critical of Kejriwal’s stand are those who love to travel in their red-beacon cars, accompanied by escorts. A minister in Bihar is provided an officer and four constables. They are also provided police escort when they pass from one district to another.
For once even the Opposition is in agreement with the ruling party. Former minister and Leader of Opposition in Bihar Legislative Assembly Nand Kishore Yadav attacked Kejriwal over his suggestion to curb VIP culture.
“Everybody likes simplicity but Kejriwal is doing it to get political mileage. He claims he is the only honest politician in the country, rest all are corrupt and thieves… this really shows his sick mentality and I condemn it strongly. Security is very important for a minister or VIP. One has to deal and interact with different kinds of people while holding a responsible position. Security cover is a must to ward off any threat to life and ensure that one does one’s duty without fear,” Nand Kishore said.
RJD legislature party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui agreed, saying Kejriwal had completed just a week in politics. Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee president Ashok Choudhary said: “Delhi has a metro culture. There, they can go around without VIP culture and security cover. It is not possible to have the same in a state like Bihar, where most districts have been declared Naxalite-hit. It is equally impossible in Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha.”
ideology divides, spoils of power unite