Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asked his ministers and MLAs to not make the removal of beacons "an issue of prestige" saying that it should be considered as a gesture of gratitude towards the people.
In the backdrop of reports that some quarters including a state minister had expressed reservations over the move, the chief minister through his office issued a statement saying that his government was committed to demolish the VIP culture, as promised by the Congress in its manifesto.
In the statement, Amarinder urged all political leaders and others to support the initiative to purge the debt-ridden state of "irrelevant power symbols".
Referring to the "humongous debt" inherited by his government, he said every small step would count in boosting the state's fiscal health. "Such VIP frills were a legacy of the pre-independence era and had no place in a democratic and progressive society like ours," the chief minister said.
He urged all colleagues in government and party and other elected representatives "not to make it (removal of beacons) an issue of prestige but to look at it as a small gesture of gratitude to the people for electing them to power."
The decision to not use red beacons was taken after the first meeting of the Punjab cabinet. The VIP culture, said Amarinder in his statement today, had eroded the country's democratic systems and alienated the common people.
He urged the public figures to respect people's sentiment and said it was not things like red beacons but hard work, commitment and sincerity that were the harbingers of popularity and respect.
Punjabis had always been at the forefront of positive change and revolution, the chief minister said exhorting all MLAs, ex MLAs and other elected leaders to set an example for the rest of the country. Besides removal of red beacons from VIP vehicles, the government has initiated other measures to rid the state of such symbolism, which Amarinder said would be implemented in toto.