The Tribune – AAP does a U-turn on security, vehicles

Vishav Bharti, Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, 17 March 2017. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seems to have taken a U-turn on its pre-poll promise of “ending the VIP culture”.

When some of the Congress leaders have refused to accept the official car or security, most of the 20 AAP MLAs have accepted the two facilities.

Sources said the matter was discussed in the party’s legislature meeting on Thursday evening. It was decided that the decision of accepting or refusing the official vehicle and security should be left to the MLA.

The AAP legislators’ choice contradicts party’s promise made in its election manifesto. “No AAP MLA, minister, MP or any other senior leader will use vehicles with hooters and red beacon lights,” it read.

The manifesto also said the “VIP culture will be ended by cutting down personal security by 95 per cent”.

Sukhpal Singh Khaira, AAP chief whip, confirmed that most of the party MLAs had accepted security as well as the vehicle. He justified the decision by saying that in light of the law and order situation in Punjab, an MLA could not survive without security.

On official vehicle, he said most of the legislators were economically weaker and did not own cars. “Everybody can’t be like Manpreet Badal,” he said.

Going against the spirit of “aam aadmi” most of the AAP MLAs are reluctant to accept ordinary cars. Instead, they have asked for better ones.

Barnala MLA Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer said he was given a Maruti Gypsy, which he refused to accept. “Gypsy is of no use to me, so I have asked for Toyota Innova,” he said, adding that he received a call from the police for security, but he refused.

The others who refused to accept security include Bhadaur MLA Pirmal Singh and Mehal Kalan MLA Kulwant Singh Pandori. The two, however, have accepted the official vehicle. Pirmal Singh said that since he did not own a car, he had requested for the official vehicle. “I will accept whichever car the government offers,” he said.

Most MLAs accept official car, gunmen

With most of AAP’s 20 MLAs opting for official vehicle and security, their choice contradicts party’s promise made in its election manifesto. Sukhpal Singh Khaira, AAP chief whip, justified the move, citing law and order situation in Punjab. On official vehicle, he says most legislators do not own cars.

Shun VIP culture, Phoolka tells government

Senior AAP leader and Leader of Opposition HS Phoolka on Friday reminded Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress’ pre-poll promise of ending the “VIP culture”. “He and his ministers should avoid the use of red beacon atop their official vehicles,” he said.

“People of Punjab suffered because of the ‘VIP culture’ adopted by high-headed SAD-BJP leaders. Now, the time is ripe for the Congress to fulfil its promise,” Phoolka said. The Dakha MLA said no party leader and MLA would have red beacon atop their vehicles and would claim perks necessary to perform their duty.


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