New Delhi: The BJP on Friday said the SPG security cover is given on the basis of threat perception done by intelligence agencies and not by 10, Janpath, the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, like yesteryears.
Accusing the Gandhis of violating the SPG security norms on several occasions, the BJP asked why the Congress was “crying” now.
The BJP was responding to the Congress’ criticism of the government’s decision to replace the SPG security cover of Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with that of the Z-plus security by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
The Congress accused the BJP government of personal vendetta and endangering the lives of the Gandhis — the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991.
Underlining that security upgrading or downgrading is an administrative matter, BJP general secretary organisation B L Santhosh said, “SPG or Z+ security cover is decided on threat perception assessment done by intelligence agencies not in 10 Janpath like in yesteryears. Rahul Gandhi has breached protocol more than 300 times.. why cry now?”
The Gandhis will be without SPG protection for the first time in 28 years. They were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in September 1991 in the SPG Act of 1988.
Under Z-plus security by CRPF, they will have commandos from the paramilitary force in close proximity besides guards at their homes and where ever they travel in the country, according to a government official.
The Z-plus security cover of CRPF jawans, which is also the highest security cover, has also been given to top Union ministers and former prime ministers, BJP’s national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said.
He alleged that the Gandhi family had violated the norms of the SPG cover in the past and didn’t cooperate with its commandos. Both the Gandhi family and the Congress party should have faith in the CRPF jawans, he added.
The Gandhis have not used bullet-resistent vehicles on hundreds of occasions over the years and did not take SPG commandos along with them on most of their foreign travels, sources in the government said.
Giving details of alleged non-cooperation of the three Gandhi family members with the SPG, a security official said such an attitude of protectees impedes the smooth functioning of the force’s personnel.