Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata BanerjeeIANS File Photo

She herself is known for her modest lifestyle. She had walked all the way to the state secretariat after taking oath as the chief minister of her state for the first time in 2011. Despite being the CM, she never uses a motorcade for herself, openly ignoring the advice of her security personnel. Her followers see it as signs of a true mass leader while critics find it as something insignificant.

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But now, Mamata Banerjee has taken a strong stance on her party's members – even the small fishes besides bureaucrats– using pilot cars while travelling.

On Wednesday (March 29), Banerjee said at an administrative meeting in Siliguri in North Bengal that she was not liking the unlimited use of pilot cars, saying they are meant for security and not status symbols. She warned her partymen that this would not go down well with the common people.

According to the Bengal home department, majority of ministers in the state take pilot cars while travelling in Kolkata or going into the interiors. While the rules say only those having Z- or Z-plus category security are eligible to get pilot cars, a lot of people put pressure on the administration to take pilot cars even if they do not get Y-category security.

The practice of using red beacons on their cars has also gone overboard and the law-keepers have not taken steps against it.

According to one report in a Bengali daily, one MP of the ruling Trinamool Congress in Kolkata even goes to a city lake for morning walk with the red beacon on. A section of the bureaucrats has also been accused of using the red beacons for personal work as well.