On October 2, 2014, during the launch of the Swachh Bharat campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi picked up a broom to sweep the parking area of Mandir Marg Police Station in New Delhi. He then asked the police personnel present why they did not keep their workplace clean.
While all the other police personnel responded with the usual embarrassed silence, one constable told Modi the police station was not clean because “a majority of them (policemen) remained occupied with his security route and they just didn’t have the time for anything else”.
The constable’s honest, and brave, reply has prompted the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) to re-evaluate the deployment of nearly 500 security personnel during Mr. Modi’s movement in the Capital. This India Today report quotes a senior police official: “On October 3, a new set of guidelines for the security arrangements came from the PMO which clearly asked the Delhi Police to deploy only the required number of personnel for the prime minister’s security instead of turning the city into a fortress.”
The constable deserves praise for having had the courage to speak up to the Prime Minister! Police personnel are usually silent in the presence of ministers, legislators and politicians since speaking up may invite overt or covert punishment.
Equally importantly, it must be appreciated that Mr. Modi took the constable’s feedback in the proper spirit!! Politicians normally do not act on inconvenient feedback from policemen and government employees, but ‘reward’ the giver of such blunt feedback with some form of punishment.
Will we see more persons following the constable’s example and more politicians following Mr. Modi’s example?
I believe that this incident will inspire more persons to give honest feedback to Mr. Modi. If Mr. Modi responds to all such feedback in the proper spirit, we will see more politicians following his example. Change will not take place overnight, but it will take place.
What do you think?