Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday sharply criticised the prevalent VIP security system, describing it as “ridiculous” and a “state within a state”, where there is no accountability.

Mr. Ramesh, who does not use a red beacon on his vehicle, said his car was blocked near the Army Chief’s residence on Wednesday by the military police when he was on his way to Teen Murti to attend a meeting.

Further, Mr. Ramesh said he would write to Defence Minister A.K. Antony about the military police taking over Delhi Traffic police’s duty when service chiefs move around the Capital. He lashed out saying that “it is ridiculous to hold up traffic even for army/navy/air force chiefs”.

He also criticised the way the traffic is being blocked for clearing the routes for the convoys of the President and the Prime Minister.

“Even the security for Prime Minister and President can easily be reduced without compromising on the basics. There are huge convoys and long hold-ups of traffic which is most needless,” Mr. Ramesh told The Hindu.

“Traffic gets stopped for all sorts of people these days. This red beacon is really all about pomp and should be done away with. Lifestyles should be simple,” he added.

While the Union Minister went on to laud the left parties’ “spartan lifestyles”, he admitted to finding their economics “distressingly obscurantist”.

Mr. Ramesh was quick to take a dig at the Aam Aadmi Party pointing out that “the problem with AAP is that they think they are the only ones with high thinking and simple living. We could do with less sanctimoniousness from the AAP community. There are a number of politicos who lead lives of simplicity and austerity and maintain high levels of transparency and integrity”.

Additionally, he complimented his ministerial colleagues, Union Ministers P. Chidambaram and A.K. Antony for their “very simple ways of working and living shorn of much security and hoopla.”

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