Rajya Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill to amend the Act governing the elite-Special Protection Group (SPG) with Home Minister Amit Shah rejecting the opposition’s charge of political vendetta and argued that the government was concerned about security of all 130 crore Indians and not just Gandhi family alone.
The amendments to the Act aims to provide SPG cover for only the prime minister and his “immediate family residing with him at his official residence”, as well as any former prime minister and members of his immediate family “residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years, from the date he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister.
“Senior Congress party leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad and Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday turned up the heat on the Centre for the proposed amendments, which the party claims has left the family vulnerable to threats.“It is not true that this Bill has been brought because of three members of the Gandhi family. The threat assessment review of the family has been done as per the previous act and therefore this Bill has no bearing on their security. Instead of SPG they have been given Z+ security.
On the security breach at the residence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, he said the security was informed that her brother Rahul Gandhi would be visiting her in a black ‘Tata Safari’ SUV but instead of him some Congress workers from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh came in a similar vehicle and so were allowed in the house.
“Security cover must not be treated as a status symbol by individuals. The SPG security cover is meant specifically for the prime minister and must not be enjoyed by any other individual,” shah said.
Participating in the debate, Congress MP Vivek Tankha said everyone wants the Gandhi family to be protected and there should not be “a party politics” on it.
“What kind of democracy it is? You are putting the opposition to threat,” said Tankha, reminding the House about the fateful incidents in which Indira Ganhi and Rajiv Gandhi were killed.
The government, Shah added, was concerned about security of “not just the Gandhi family but 130 crore citizens of this country,” and said the Opposition had “no right to accuse the BJP of political vendetta when 120 BJP workers had been killed in Kerala alone and no investigation had been carried out.”