Following the serial bomb blasts during the BJP’s rally in Patna on October 27, Gujarat seems to have lost faith in the Bihar Police’s ability to handle its chief minister Narendra Modi’s security.
Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) prime ministerial face for general elections due in 2014, is scheduled to reach Bihar late on Friday. The next day, he will meet relatives of the six persons killed in the blasts.
It will be the Gujarat Police that will handle Modi’s proximate security as he heads to Bihar for the second time in less than a week, according to an official privy to the development.
“A Gujarat Police team headed by inspector general of police Atul Karwal will be in charge of Modi’s proximate security,” the official, who did not want to be named, added.
A number of Gujarat Police officials have already reached Bihar to assess the security at the places Modi will visit.
To meet the relatives of the blast victims, Modi will cover six districts by chopper.
Seemingly sidelined, the Bihar Police, however, are taking no chances and have laid down a five-layered security at all sites Modi will visit.
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The Bihar Police have already carried out anti-sabotage checks and deputed bomb disposal squads. Deep search metal detectors, hand metal detectors, dog squads and bullet proof vehicles have been made available in all districts on Modi’s itinerary.
The superintendents of police of the six districts have demanded additional force of 1,000 personnel each from the police headquarters for Modi’s security.
The additional force would also be deployed along the route Modi will cover by road.
On Wednesday, the police headquarters had sent a detailed advisory to the SPs. The directions factored in preparation of helipads and barricading of road stretches Modi will cover.
Bihar additional director general of police (law and order) SK Bhardawaj said, “It will be a foolproof security for Modi in view of the threat. We have issued necessary instructions in this regard. Range DIGs are monitoring the deployment.”
Modi will be Bihar’s state guest
Amid the war of words with chief minister and Janata Dal (United) leader Nitish Kumar, Modi will be Bihar’s state guest during his visit to the state.
“He (Modi) is a chief minister and will be accorded the honour of being a state guest and all protocol will be followed,” Brajesh Mehrotra, Bihar’s principal secretary, cabinet coordination committee, said on Thursday.
State JD-U president Bashistha Narayan Singh said, “Despite political differences, Narendra Modi is a chief minister. The state government will extend him all facilities in the rule book relating to the visit of a VIP.”
Anatomy of the latest war of words between Modi and Nitish
At the BJP’s Hunkar (battle cry) rally in Patna on Sunday, Modi had slammed friend-turned-rival Nitish, accusing him of betrayal.
“People in Bihar are not opportunistic, except a few,” he had said, referring to Nitish, who was instrumental in getting the JD-U to sever a 17-year-old alliance with the BJP in June following Modi’s elevation — first as the saffron party’s campaign committee chief for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and then as its PM face.
“People ask me why your friend has left the BJP. I tell them a person who can leave Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) can also leave the BJP,” Modi had said.
“Our friend (Nitish) was told by his counsellors to talk to the Congress. That will ensure prime ministership. He has not betrayed the BJP alone, he has backstabbed the people of Bihar. Let’s uproot these backstabbers.”
On Tuesday, Nitish had given a point-by-point rebuttal, tearing into Modi at a JD-U convention in Rajgir.
“A man who aspires to the high post should have patience and not be excitable,” Nitish had said, adding, “His Red Fort dream will remain a dream.”
He said Modi’s statements were a figment of his imagination. “We were not seated at the same table at any lunch hosted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” he said.
Nitish was referring to Modi’s statement that he was a hypocrite for refusing to eat while sitting on the same table because he was possibly afraid of being photographed.
The JD-U leader had also slammed Modi for saying he had abandoned Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan. “Who left JP? Why was it said? Just for rhyming JP and BJP.”
In the spat, Modi and Nitish have never referred to each other by name.