How peripatetic Narendra Modi cuts down on travel time when going abroad

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has established tough norms for himself and follows a protocol in which he has stopped the practice of booking a hotel during technical halts in the course of foreign visits for refueling of aircraft and stays at airport terminals, Home Minister Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Shah, who was replying to the debate on Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, said that Modi "has started the practice of taking less than 20 per cent staff" during his visits abroad.

"Earlier when prime ministers went abroad, 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 stays at the airport, takes bath there and proceeds further after refuelling is done. There was an arrangement of separate vehicles for the accompanying staff. He conveyed that four to five people should go in a car or a bus which should be arranged," Shah said.

Also Read: PM Modi takes less than 20% staff: Amit Shah replying to Congress on SPG protocol

He said while Modi follows tough norms, there were those who have made security cover a status symbol and were enjoying the security that is given to the Prime Minister.

Responding to Congress member Gaurav Gogoi, Shah said the Prime Minister had not violated the SPG protocol during a seaplane ride in Gujarat.

The Home Minister said that the SPG had checked the seaplane and one SPG personnel accompanied the Prime Minister. He added that Modi had taken personal risk to promote tourism and not violated SPG cover to take a late night motorcycle ride at 100 km per hour in Lutyens' Delhi.

Targetting Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he said that those with SPG security should not go without it.

"If we have been given security, what is the secret thing we have to do to leave it behind at home. We do not go without security. Rajnath (Singh) Ji is sitting here. For many years, those wearing black uniform (commandos) leave him till the toilet but he never says anything. If security has been provided, why not keep it with you?" he said.

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Shah said that the three Congress leaders, who have now been provided Z-plus security by CRPF, should keep it with them.

He also said that Rahul Gandhi had travelled 1,892 times in Delhi and 247 times abroad without informing the SPG after 2015.

"Members of the Gandhi family have travelled without informing the SPG 600 times," Shah asserted.