The reported security breach during Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s Allahabad visit threatens to snowball into a centre-state issue, with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) seeking a report from the Special Protection Group (SPG) team that was covering the scion of the Gandhi family.
The UP Congress Committee (UPCC) has expressed serious concern over the security lapse. It has issued a veiled warning to the state government that it should do well to remember, “if BSP is in power in UP, the Congress is in power at the centre. We cannot let the UP government play with the security of our top leaders. The lapse was deliberate and due to political reasons.”
DIG Allahabad Ramkumar had denied any security breach, but after the issue started generating political heat, IG law and order, UP, AK Maheshwari said the breach charge was being looked into.
Gandhi is expected to visit UP again in a week’s time and with the Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, the youth wing of the Samajwadi Party, warning that the scion of the Gandhi family, should be prepared for more such protests, the MHA is expected to take up the issue with the state government.
The young Samajwadis in Allahabad, on Monday, alleging that Rahul had backtracked on his promise to make efforts to revive Students union polls in the state, had got onto Rahul’s cavalcade and showed him black flags.
Getting so close to a VIP, under SPG cover, UP Congress spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh said, “poses grave threats to the protectee and we would not take it lying down.” Singh said, “I understand the SPG is sending a report on the issue to the MHA. We hope that the matter would be taken up at the appropriate level.”
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and her daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, both under SPG cover, also visit UP. At least five union ministers come from UP and thus visit the state often. The Congress has now demanded to all its senior leaders, who visit UP.
A senior police officer conceded that security norms for a SPG protectee are very stringent. “The SPG forms the inner circle around the VIP while the outer circle is manned by the local police. In this case, if reports are correct, protestors breached the outer circle and virtually climbed atop the cavalcade in which the VIP was moving. This is serious,” the officer requesting anonymity said. During Gandhi’s Jhansi visit, the district administration had video graphed the close door meeting, Gandhi had with youths and described the move as necessary for the VIP’s security. The Congress response to the state government’s move to video graph Rahul’s function was simple: “You video graph a closed door meeting due to security reasons but when he requires security, you ignore it. Can you believe it?”