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'Part of politics': Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacks Modi govt on withdrawal of SPG cover

This is the first time that someone from the Gandhi family has commented on the Ministry of Home Affairs' decision to change the security template of the members of the Gandhis.

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'Part of politics': Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacks Modi govt on withdrawal of SPG cover
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Taking a jab at the Centre for withdrawing Special Protection Group (SPG) cover of the Gandhi family, including interim president Sonia Gandhi and MP Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said that the decision was 'part of politics' and something that 'keeps happening'.

This is the first time that someone from the Gandhi family has commented on the Ministry of Home Affairs' decision to change the security template of the members of the Gandhis.

On November 8, the MHA had decided to remove the SPG protection given to the Gandhi family and give them 'Z Plus' security instead, provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The decision was taken after assessing threat inputs from all intelligence agencies, which suggested that in the recent past, there has been no direct threat to the family.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's SPG security cover was also revoked and accorded CRPF's Z-plus protection.

Defending the decision, the MHA had said that the review of security cover to political leaders is a periodical exercise which is done depending on threat perception after security agencies undertake an assessment.

On Wednesday, the Congress had launched a scathing attack at the Modi government over this issue. Raising the matter in Rajya Sabha, Congress MP Anand Sharma said that the state is duty-bound to protect its leaders. "The government should look into the issues of safety of politicians beyond the partisan political considerations and restore the cover. "We urge government that issues of security of our leaders have to be beyond partisan political considerations," he had said. He was supported by members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), both allies of the Congress.

Sharma also added that when the UPA was in power, they never removed SPG cover for any former PM, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

"I remember, sir, when UPA was in office, considering this aspect, no security cover of the former Prime Ministers including that of, I am not making a political point, Atal Bihari Vajpayeeji for ten years was disturbed. All other protectees - their cover was neither diluted nor withdrawn," he said.

On the other hand, dramatic scenes were witnessed near the Shastri Bhavan in Delhi as Youth Congress protesters came down in thousands, agitating against the removal of SPG protection. They also burnt effigies of PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.

Many protesters workers were detained as Delhi Police closed the gates of Shastri Bhawan and Krishi Bhawan, which houses many ministry offices.

The SPG protection given to the Gandhi family and Manmohan Singh was withdrawn earlier this month and they were given 'Z Plus' security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The Gandhis had got the SPG cover since the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.

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