Is the SPG withdrawal, not a leading issue to talk about? It is, indeed significant to learn that the elite security cover was abruptly snatched from the family of the country’s ex-PM, Rajiv Gandhi. What had been mooted in the year 1988 was the effect of 1984. At that time, it was decided that the country’s Prime Minister should be provided with a separate force to guard him. It included specially trained bodyguards, high-tech vehicles, jammers, and an ambulance in the carcade to the SPG protectee. This very security cover holds an ultra-high place.
There were categories in the security for important persons and the SPG cover was the highest of all. The BJP seems to have considered this factor and did not bother much in withdrawing the SPG cover from the particular Congress Clan. An essential amount of change headed towards the way of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra which could not be tolerated by the young congressmen. They assembled for a protest outside the Union Home Minister, Amit Shah’s, official residence.
Overwhelmingly, the Congressmen openly declared how unhappy, disheartened, frustrated and shocked they were. They were not prepared for a big decisive movement. The Congress Party began giving weight to the ‘why’ behind the abrupt conclusion but what was absent in the change was the right mindset, as was insisted by the Congressmen. A Party leader, Nana Patole, said that the move was a strategy and a hidden agenda. He said, ” The country knows Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi made sacrifices. The threat to the Gandhi family was known.” However, when BJP spokesman asked the Congress leader to be clear about the actual threat elements or bodies, he categorically declined to exemplify during the TV discourse.
The Congressmen appeared totally reluctant to accept the reversal. It was made clear by the Congress leader, Ahmed Patel, who wrote: “The BJP has descended to the ultimate personal vendetta mechanism, compromising the lives of two former prime ministers to acts of terror and violence.” Former Home Minister, P Chidambaram, in his tweet posted by his family on his behalf, said: “The government’s decision to withdraw SPG protection for the Gandhis is an outrageous and mad decision.”
It has been nearly 28 long years that the family has enjoyed the personal privilege of the Special Protection Group Security. And it now stands removed, after considering the pros and cons of detailed security assessment by the agencies concerned. What had persisted in the past years no longer stayed in the present situation, therefore, the withdrawal came into effect, as was insisted.
Now the Gandhis will be covered with Z plus security. It can be said that the level of security cover has been downgraded. They will now have to do with the CRPF guards. The BJP spokesman, in a TV debate, maintained that Jayalalitha and Mayawati had also once demanded the SPG cover but they were denied. Recently, the SPG security to ex-PM Dr Manmohan Singh had also been removed. They believe that since the Congress Clan has faced no life threats in the recent past, there is no need to provide that kind of elite security to the three Gandhis. The SPG cover was only aimed to provide security to the PM. Perhaps, the BJP discovers tremendous comfort in having changed the norm for protecting the ex-PM’s family. The limitation between the SPG cover and the Z+ security is certainly not hidden, and the whole sense appears less like a determination taken in a hustle and more like a bitter twist.
In the meantime, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi thanked the SPG engaged in his security for so many long years. Now with the SPG cover withdrawal, the Gandhis will not be immune from frisking, like other air passengers, at airports. The Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi also thanked the SPG chief Arun Sinha for the security provided to the family.