Congress protests in Lok Sabha on SPG cover withdrawal
Earlier this month, the Centre replaced SPG security cover given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Z-plus security cover of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).Updated: Nov 20, 2019 01:41 IST
The Gandhis face a threat to their life and Special Protection Guard (SPG) security given to them should not have been withdrawn, the Congress said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday before its members staged a protest walkout, demanding the restoration of the elite unit’s security cover for the family.
Earlier this month, the Centre replaced SPG security cover given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with Z-plus security cover of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The Congress moved an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha to suspend all listed business to take up the matter for discussion, but Speaker Om Birla rejected it.
Congress’s floor leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury spoke in the House later and said the previous National Democratic Alliance government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee also did not remove the SPG cover for the Gandhis. “What is the conspiracy of the government in removing the SPG cover,” he asked.
TR Baalu of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supported Chowdhury’s demand and said removing the SPG cover had put the lives of the Congress leaders in danger.
Both Congress and DMK members walked out of the House to protest the removal of SPG cover for the Gandhis. Minister of state for parliamentary affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said Chowdhury couldn’t raise the issue in Zero Hour as he had not given a notice on the matter.
“You have rejected the notice for adjournment on the issue. He did not give notice to raise the issue in Zero Hour,” the minister said,addressing speaker Birla.
As soon as the House met for the day, Congress members changed slogans and some also trooped into the Well of the house. Other opposition members were also raising slogans on different issues.
Birla repeatedly requested the protesting members to go back to their seats. “There might have been precedents of protesting in the Well. From today onwards, no (member) will protest in the Well. If not, I will be forced to take action,” he said. Amid the din, various questions and supplementaries related to farmers’ issues were taken up.
Birla also took note of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s absence from the House, and said he wanted to give a chance to the former Congress president during Question Hour.
“His (Rahul Gandhi’s) question was listed for the Question Hour and I wanted to give him a chance had he been present,” Birla remarked when K Suresh got up to speak during Zero Hour from Gandhi’s seat.
As per the Lok Sabha schedule, question number 28 was listed against the name of Gandhi. The question pertained to Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana for Kerala.