To reduce the VIP protection workload on the National Security Guard — the country’s elite anti-terror and anti-hijacking commando force — the government is considering a proposal to remove at least four heavyweight politicians from the list of its protectees, sources told HT.
“It is proposed that the responsibility of security of three former chief ministers — Mulayam Singh Yadav, Dr Farooq Abdullah and Lalu Prasad Yadav — and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav should be handed over some other paramilitary force or the respective state police to prune down the list of NSG protectees,” said a home ministry official requesting anonymity.
The view in the government is that these four politicians have got security disproportionate to the threat they face, the official added.
Currently NSG commandos guard 15 top politicians across the country including – former deputy prime minister LK Adavni, former Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, former Uttar Pradesh CM Mayawati, Punjab CM Prakash Singh Badal and Union home minister Rajnath Singh among others.
Narendra Modi was also a NSG protectee before becoming prime minister. One of its former protectees, Andhra CM N Janardhan Reddy, is now no more. “The list of its protectees already got pruned down from 17 to 15 this year only. The NSG brass has repeatedly raised the issue of further pruning down the list to 10 to 11 protectees with the home ministry officials. Being a counter-terror and anti-hijacking force, the NSG wants to remain focused on its core functions and doesn’t want more workload in terms of VIP protection,” said the official.
Sources say home minister Rajnath Singh may have to take a final call on the matter since it is a politically sensitive issue.