MHA grants central security cover to all BJP MLAs in Bengal
All newly elected 77 MLAs of BJP in the 294-seat assembly are now being provided security cover by the central forces.
The Centre on Monday accorded ‘X’ category VIP security cover of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) to 61 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLAs in West Bengal in view of the alleged violence against party leaders and workers in the state, people familiar with the development said.
With this decision, all newly elected 77 MLAs of BJP in the 294-seat assembly are now being provided security cover by the central forces.
Leader of opposition in the state, Suvendu Adhikari, who defeated chief minister Mamata Banerjee from Nandigram, already has a second highest ‘Z’ category security cover from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Officials cited above said the ministry of home affairs (MHA) approved the security cover for 61 MLAs, who had no protection till now, after taking into consideration a report prepared by intelligence agencies as well as the inputs shared by the four-member team that visited the state last week to assess post-poll violence there.
At least 16 people were killed in violence that rocked West Bengal after Trinamool Congress won a thumping victory in the assembly polls last Sunday. BJP claimed many of its party workers were killed by TMC goons and hundreds of others had to flee as party offices were torched and family members attacked.
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TMC has claimed that BJP leaders provoked the violence and shared fake information. West Bengal Police has said some reports of rape and violence were untrue.
Under the ‘X’ category cover, three-to-five armed commandoes will protect each MLA wherever they travel in the state. Others are already enjoying the central security cover under the next category of ‘Y’, which comprises of 10-12 men.
“We had requested the home minister to provide security to our 77 MLAs as they were not able to travel anywhere, including their constituencies to their work. If the violence goes down, then they can rethink (the security cover) but for now we need this,” said BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya.
“Security cover is required not just for our MLAs but for people across Bengal...incidents of assault, arson and loot are taking place every day. Women are being raped and molested,” said Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya.
TMC leader Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said – “Narendra and Amit [first names only, since they do the same to women politicians] ran a vile and filthy campaign. They should answer your question”.
Another TMC leader said on condition of anonymity that the real reason was discontent among BJP legislators. “The BJP feels that the MLAs are very unhappy with Suvendu Adhikari being the leader of opposition,” the leader claimed.