SPG relents, allows ‘Metro man’ to share dais with PM

While the PM can be seen with many more people sharing the stage with him in political rallies, the SPG had earlier allowed only seven people on the dais at Kochi on grounds of security

PTI Photo
PTI Photo

NH Web Desk

Mounting public criticism on Thursday forced the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and the Special Protection Group (SPG) to relent and allow ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan and leader of the opposition Ramesh Chennithala to share the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday when he inaugurates the Kochi Metro.

Reports that the SPG had allowed only seven people to share the dais with the PM and had dropped both Sreedharan and Chennithala from the list had created a public furore. While the Kerala Government had appealed to the PMO to review the decision, the media mobbed Sreedharan on Thursday morning when he arrived at the Metro station to oversee arrangements.

While Sreedharan gracefully and firmly deflected queries by declaring, “The PM’s security is far more important. Don’t make it into a controversy.” Hours later the PMO let it be known that both Sreedharan and Chennithala would, indeed, share the dais with the PM.

The SPG had earlier allowed just seven people on the dais, citing security considerations and protocol.

Curiously, in several political rallies previously, the Prime Minister is actually seen sharing the stage with many more people. In this picture, PM Modi can be seen sharing dais with over 15 people, during an election rally in Uttar Pradesh in March this year:

Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
A file photo of PM Modi during an election rally in March this year, ahead of the UP assembly polls

Tweeterati had reacted to his omission and voiced their protest with hashtags like #PMOInsultsMetroMan. Raju P Nair tweeted that it was an unacceptable insult to the metro man.

Another Twitter user, Anand RM, remarked:

Many users were quick to point out that Gujarat could not get metro train services despite Modi ruling the state for over 13 years as chief minister, but in Kerala he was refusing to give the credit where it was due.

Jay Ambadi tweeted:

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