When mortal remains of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee were taken out of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also followed the huge crowd without being inside his car.
At the time when PM Modi was following the crowd toward the funeral venue, the Special Protection Group which guards the PM informed the police department that PM Modi will walk with the crowd right up to Smriti Sthal in north Delhi in order to give respect to the former Prime Minister.
Our sources reported that some other big faces and ministers who walked behind the carriage in order to reach the cremation site were BJP president Amit Shah and several Union ministers and chief ministers of other states that included Yogi Adityanath, Devendra Fadnavis, Vijay Rupani and Shivraj Chouhan.
“Never before has any Prime Minister walked 6 km like this in a public procession. We got very little time to tweak his security plan although we were equipped to handle VIP security all along the way. We did not have the list of VVIPs who would walk, but we had prepared anyway. However, the PM’s decision to walk had an element of surprise,” said the official, who was part of the security arrangements on Friday.
The decision of PM Modi to walk behind the carriage took even the BJP leaders to surprise. “We knew that the party president (Amit Shah) was likely to walk with the mortal remains but the Prime Minister’s decision to walk came as surprise. Initially, we thought that he would walk for a few meters or up to ITO (Income Tax Office) crossing but he continued,” said a BJP leader.
On this, senior officers said that they came to know about the PM’s decision to walk at the last moment but as the security forces already did sanitize the route, so making some special arrangements in order to add security for Prime Minister didn’t make much of a hustle for the department. But the challenge that the department faced was to maintain coordination with the Special Protection Group that guards the PM, senior officer added.
Our sources also reported that all the nearby shops and commercial establishments around the Smriti Sthal and the BJP headquarters remained closed. Besides this, the alternative roads and the service lanes that lead to the main route were also barricaded.