New Delhi: Furious with the government’s move to downgrade the security cover provided to the Gandhi family, Congress members in the Lok Sabha raised the issue for the second consecutive day and accused the Narendra Modi-led BJP government of playing “revenge politics” that was putting their lives at risk.
Congress MPs rushed to the well of the House while raising slogans — “Please stop revenge politics”, “End dictatorship”, “PM hosh mein aao”. They were accompanied by MPs from the National Conference and the DMK.
Since Congress members’ notice of adjournment motion on the withdrawal of the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover to the Gandhi family was rejected by Speaker Om Birla, party’s leader in the House Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury raised the issue in Zero Hour.
Minister of state for parliamentary affairs, Arjun Ram Meghwal, tried to stop Chowdhury, saying he cannot raise the issue in the Zero Hour since he had not given a notice in this regard. Upset with this, the Congress and DMK MPs walked out of the House in protest. Chowdhury said that withdrawal of SPG cover of Gandhis “is a serious issue and their life is in danger.”
Earlier this month, the SPG cover for Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was withdrawn and they were placed under the Z-plus security cover provided by the CRPF. Delhi Police is in charge of control of access to the residences of Sonia and Rahul.
Also, instead of special bullet-proof vehicles, the Gandhi family, once among the most protected people in the country, have been provided with 10-year-old Tata Safaris. Under SPG protection, Sonia and Priyanka were using Ran-ge Rovers with Ballistic Resistance and Rahul Gandhi was using a Fortuner. There were reports that the CRPF has requested the SPG to allow armoured vehicles for the Gandhis, but there has been no response yet. The family was given SPG cover after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991. Government sources have attributed the downgrade to a lower threat perception for the family.
“The SPG protection given to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi family is not an ordinary protection. After the assassination of Indira Gandhi it was decided that the Prime Ministers and their families will be given SPG protection… Vajpayeeji had allowed Special Protection Group protection for the Gandhi family. From 1991-2019, What is the provocation now to withdraw their SPG cover. Sonia Gandhi’s life is in danger,” argued Chowdhury....