New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday welcomed the government’s decision of barring the use of red beacons atop vehicles, including that of the prime minister, but termed as “laughable" the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s attempt to blow the trumpet of morality over it.
The opposition party said the move was only a step towards ending the VIP culture prevailing in the country. The party also took a swipe at the BJP, saying it is good to see the saffron party catch up with the “progressive policies" of the Congress.
“The Supreme Court had given its verdict on 10 December, 2013 about which cars be allowed and which ones not for use of red beacons. If after three-and-a-half years the BJP is trying to do politics over this and blow the trumpet of morality, then there can be nothing more laughable...," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said.
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Chief spokesperson of the Congress Randeep Surjewala welcomed the development. “The Congress welcomes the end of ‘Red Beacon culture’ in India, a campaign that we launched and implemented in Punjab. To stop Red Beacon is one step in ending VIP culture. It requires an innate belief in public representatives as people’s servants and not masters," Surjewala said in a series of tweets.
He also listed a host of initiatives taken by the erstwhile Congress government to ensure accountability of public representatives. Surjewala said the Congress government had made the assets declaration of ministers, MPs and bureaucrats compulsory, besides enacting the RTI Act, the Lokpal Act and the Whistleblower Protection Act.
The Congress party on its official Twitter handle wrote, “Congress government led the way in removing ‘Red Beacon Culture.’ It’s good to see BJP catch up to our progressive policies, at least this one time (sic)."
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh too welcomed the Union Cabinet’s decision to removed red beacons from all vehicles from 1 May, saying it is a “healthy step that will further strengthen the country’s democratic fabric".
Seeking to end the VIP culture, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided that beacon lights will be removed from all vehicles, except emergency vehicles, like ambulances and fire brigade. The vehicles with beacon lights, which are seen as a symbol of VIP culture, “have no place in a democratic country", the government said.