Lashing out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for branding himself a fakir (ascetic) and pradhan sevak (prime servant), Shiv Sena MP and party’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Raut on Sunday said the PM had no right to style himself thus as he had added a foreign-made, ₹12-crore bullet and bombproof car in his cavalcade despite trumpeting “Swadeshi” initiatives like “Make in India”.
In keeping with the Sena’s growing affinity to the Congress, Mr. Raut lauded former Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi for using indigenous security vehicles and moving about fearlessly despite threats to their lives.
“On December 28, a section of the media relayed pictures of a ₹12-crore, foreign-made car for Prime Minister Modi. And this is a person who calls himself a fakir, a pradhan sevak.”
In his weekly column Rokhthok in the Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana , Mr. Raut praised Jawaharlal Nehru for always using the Indian-made Ambassador despite the security threat following Partition, and his daughter Indira Gandhi for not replacing her security guards despite a very real threat to her life.
“While the PM’s security and comfort are certainly important, the pradhan sevak should henceforth not keep stating that he is a fakir,” said Mr. Raut.
It was recently reported that a Mercedes-Maybach S650 Guard had been added to the PM’s cavalcade by the Special Protection Group, triggering speculation on its steep price tag. However, government sources clarified that the cost was a third of what was being reported in the media, while stating that the new car was a routine replacement of the BMW used by the PM as the German carmaker had stopped production of the model used previously.
Official sources had also stressed that the SPG security detail had a six-year norm to replace vehicles used for people they are assigned to protect and that Mr. Modi had not given any preference for any car.
“In contrast, ...... former PM Rajiv Gandhi, despite the spectre of assassination, should not have mingled with crowds. But he did so and was killed by the militant LTTE in Tamil Nadu,” the Sena leader said.