Vasundhara Raje cuts security, declines chief minister’s house

Jaipur, Jan 6: Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje seems to have taken a leaf out of her Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal’s book — cutting down on her security and turning down a luxurious residence.

Raje, who had been at the receiving end of the opposition parties for her upscale lifestyle during her previous tenure, has now scaled down her security by half, promised to stop at red lights with common commuters and said no to the luxurious chief ministerial bungalow, sources close to her said.

A few days back, she had asked the state’s Director General of Police (DGP) Omendra Bhardwaj to scale down her security.

“In her directions, she asked the police chief to depute the hundreds of policemen, who would be relieved of her security duty, in service of the common men,” a senior police officer told IANS.

Raje is of the view that she would be more accessible to the common man if the security is reduced, the officer added.

Apart from the security, another gesture from Raje to be among the masses was her decision not to move into the sprawling chief minister’s bungalow in Civil Lines area here.

“She has decided to stay in her comparatively much smaller government residence at 13, Civil Lines,” said a senior state government official, who preferred not to be named.

During her tenure as chief minister between 2003 and 2008, Raje had been criticized for wide scale renovation work carried out at the chief minister’s residence at 8, Civil Lines.

The Congress leaders had accused her of wasting public money on her luxurious life style.

Raje, who comes from the royal family of Gwalior, has also instructed the police not to make special arrangements for the passage of her cavalcade.

“She has said that she would stop at red lights, so that common commuters don’t get hassled by the traffic restrictions which were earlier norm of the day whenever the chief minister’s cavalcade passed through,” said a traffic department officer.

Raje has also decided to take commercial flights instead of using state planes to reduce her travel expenses.

Vinod Kumar, a resident of Sodala area in Jaipur, said Raje’s gesture should be welcomed.

“Finally the politicians are realizing that they are one among the masses, not above them. It will be nice to see a chief minister stopping at a red-light beside me,” he said.

IANS