New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) Those who get SPG cover 'think like that they are the prime minister', BJP MP Neeraj Shekhar, who himself was a SPG protectee for 11 years being the son of the former prime minister Chandra Shekhar, said in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.
Immediate family members of former prime ministers travel in a cavalcade of bullet proof cars, escorted by police bypassing all security checks and barriers and even mandatory frisking at airports, said Shekhar while narrating his experience in the Upper House during the debate on the SPG (Amendment) Bill.
'Those people who live under SPG cover, they think that they are the prime minister of this country and are privileged persons,' said Shekhar supporting the Bill and stressed that the BJP wants to finish 'this VIP culture'.
He cautioned the House that the young people of the nation do not like this VIP culture.
'When it was amended in 1991, I also got security (SPG), which was not required. But I liked it as I was a young man of 22 years age and a security guard used to shadow me.
'Whenever I would go to airport, my car would go up to the plane and there was a bullet proof car, wherever I use to visit,' he said, adding that although no one recognised him, he used to travel with a fleet of four cars.
Shekhar, who was giving his maiden speech in the Upper House, added: 'Although I was nothing but despite that people use to come to take my autograph... the SPG protection gave me a feeling that I was some important person'.
'I used to be surprised to see senior citizens standing in queues at airports and I never went for any security check. One security guard armed with pistol used to escort me to the plane,' he said.
Citing an example of his Chennai trip, when his father had dismissed the DMK government, Shekhar said:'When I landed there, I had never seen such security. I had 10 to 15 vehicles. I felt like the prime minister of this country during my stay there.' However, he added that he had no security from 2001, when he became a member of Parliament.
'Sometimes I wonder over the amount spend on this. Sometimes, when I along with my mother and elder brother used to travel together, then it was almost like some carcade was going with us. Around nine vehicles use to travel with us and 14 -15 vehicles from Delhi Police also followed us,' he said.
Special cars are sent by airplane and advance security is sent where you have to travel, he said 'This bill is required as I think that a person like me does not need such security,' he said.
However, he also suggested that former PMs and their families should be protected by raising another force.
Citing the recent breach in the security of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he said that it should be investigated and the guilty officers should be punished.
Taking a dig at the Congress, he said SPG cover was removed for former PMs like V P Singh, I K Gujral, H D Deve Gowda and Manmohan Singh but no one raised their voice.
Neeraj Shekhar is the son of former Prime Minister Chandra Shekhar who served as the eighth Prime Minister of India between 10 November 10, 1990 and June 21, 1991.
In July this year, Neeraj left the Samajwadi Party and joined the BJP.
Under the amended SPG Act, the elite SPG security will be provided only to the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence and any former PM and members of his immediate family 'residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years from the date he ceases to be the prime minister. PTI KRH RT