New Delhi: The Congress on Wednesday slammed the government over the purchase of a luxury car for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade at a time when the economy has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recalling the prime minister’s description of himself as fakir’ (ascetic), Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said every person in the country desires to be a fakir like Modi who flies in an Rs 8,000 crore aircraft, rides in Rs 20 crore car and spends Rs 2,000 crore on building a home .
A Mercedes-Maybach S650 Guard was added to the prime minister’s cavalcade by the Special Protection Group. Government sources said that the new car was a replacement of the BMW used by the prime minister as the German carmaker stopped production of the vehicle.
Official sources also said the SPG security detail has a six-year norm to replace vehicles used for the protectee and that Modi has not given any preference on which cars to use.
They also said that the car costs about one-third of the price quoted in the media.
However, Vallabh alleged that the prime minister had changed five cars in seven years.
In the last two years, people have lost jobs, seen their salaries decline, businesses have witnessed a downturn, but there is no change in the prime minister’s pace of changing cars. Why are you buying cars, he said.
The Congress spokesperson said India had seen prime ministers who cared for the people and not who changed cars every alternate year.
It was Mahindra Scorpio in 2014, BMW 7 Series in 2015, Toyota Land Cruiser in 2017, Jaguar Range Rover Vogue in 2019 and Mercedes Maybach in 2021, he told reporters here.
Taking a dig at the prime minister’s pitch for Make in India, Congress said Modi has not boarded an India-made car since 2014 when he used Mahindra Scorpio for his travels.
Vocal for Local, Aatmanirbhar Bharat have remained mere slogans there is no India-made car. It started with Scorpio, but the prime minister has never turned to an Indian car after that, he said.
Our buying capacity has been hit due to the pandemic. We have to think twice before buying a pair of clothes. The RBI also says consumer sentiment is depressed, Vallabh said.