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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

‘Nothing political’: BJP’s Nadda responds to Congress in RS on SPG cover to Gandhis

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) earlier this month.

india Updated: Nov 20, 2019 13:13 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
BJP’s working president JP Nadda responded  to Congress leader Anand Sharma’s charge about withdrawal of SPG cover to four leaders of the party.
BJP’s working president JP Nadda responded to Congress leader Anand Sharma’s charge about withdrawal of SPG cover to four leaders of the party. (ANI / Twitter )
         

Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday asked the government to restore Special Protection Group cover withdrawn over the past few weeks from four leaders of the Congress including party president Sonia Gandhi. Sharma, the deputy leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, told Parliament that concerns about their security were “well founded”.

Sharma emphasised that issues of personal safety, security and lives of leaders had to be beyond partisan political considerations. “Please rise above them, review and restore. That would be national interest; otherwise the intention would be questioned. Today, tomorrow and in the future,” he said.

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) earlier this month. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s SPG cover had been withdrawn in August.

Watch l Gandhis’ SPG cover removal row explodes in Rajya Sabha: Who said what 

“All four have been vulnerable to threats,” Anand Sharma said. The Congress leader had moved an adjournment motion that requires a stop to the scheduled business to first take up the issue flagged by a member. Rajya Sabha chairman M Venkaiah Naidu rejected the proposal but allowed him to bring his concerns on record.

Home Minister Amit Shah wasn’t in the house when the issue was raised. No other minister responded to the Congress either. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party instead fielded its working president JP Nadda to counter the Congress charge that the decision to strip the Gandhis of their security cover was driven by politics.

Nadda underscored that the government hadn’t withdrawn security cover.

“The security has not been withdrawn. There is nothing political. The home ministry has got a very set pattern and there is a protocol. This is not done by a politician. It is done by the home ministry and according to threat perception, security is given and withdrawn,” the BJP working president said, rebutting Anand Sharma.

Sharma had stressed withdrawal of SPG cover to the Gandhis made them vulnerable. “It is the responsibility of the State to protect its leaders,” he said, pointing out that when the Congress-led UPA coalition was in power, it had not disturbed the security cover of former prime ministers including the BJP’s Atal Bihari Vajpayee.