On November 27, 2019 the Parliament has passed an amendment to the SPG Bill. Now, the SPG (Special Protection Group) will only protect the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence. The same can be availed by the former PM up to five years of his/her demitting office.
Congress, which had earlier protested on flimsy ground against the withdrawal of SPG cover to the members of Sonia Gandhi and her family opposed the amendment and staged a walkout. But not before getting all the answers to their reservations against the bill which Home Minister Amit Shah gave with his trademark style of wit, facts, and humor. In the whole debate, whenever Congress pressed for more answers and clarification more their cover over their hypocrisy and past deeds have come to the fore.
Arguments from the Congress side
- The amendment is moved to strip of particular Congress family from the protection
- It is a vindictive politics from BJP
- Inadequate security had led to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination
- In the matter related to security cover of the former PM Manmohan Singh, his queries were not even got the response from the administration
Every Question Answered
Let’s see how every claim of Congress over the SPG system got a rebuttal from HM Amit Shah.
01. The amendment will restore the law’s original intent as it was enacted in 1988, which is to only protect the prime minister and former prime minister. It was diluted for political reasons in the past.
02. There is an effort to interpret it wrongly as the security cover to Sonia family withdrawn. Security of the Gandhi family has not been withdrawn but changed to ‘Z-plus’ with advance security liaison and ambulance that will be given across the country.
03. Manmohan Singh Ji himself asked Director IB to do what he feels is right. There’s no point of not responding to his letter.
04. When the SPG was given, Gandhi family members have been on several trips without informing the security group. There are 600 instances of the same. Sonia Gandhi had travelled 50 times in Delhi, 13 times in various parts of India and 29 times abroad without informing the SPG. Priyanka Gandhi had travelled 339 times in Delhi without taking the SPG cover, 64 times in different parts of the country and 94 times abroad. After 2015, Rahul Gandhi had travelled 1,892 times in India and 247 times abroad without informing the SPG.
Amit Shah on SPG Bill: Gandhi family members have been on several trips without informing.Instances like this have happened about 600 times.What secrets were hidden? Look at Rajnath ji,for many years security personnel even dropped him till the toilet yet he never said anything. pic.twitter.com/78w8nLS3O6
— ANI (@ANI) November 27, 2019
05. Earlier, when on the basis of threat perception, the SPG cover of many former Prime Ministers such as Chandrashekhar, PV Narsimha Rao, Manmohan Singh was withdrawn. But Congress remained mum on all those instances and making noise only over the instance of family. This shows that their concern is not really about the protection. But SPG should not be a status symbol for anyone.
While factually placing all the records on SPG cover, HM Amit Shah at the end has left a suspension as well. He said, “Don’t force me to reveal the name, but a SPG protected person had this habit of sending the protection group tizzy by coming out at midnight on the Lutyens road to joyride the motorcycle in 100 km speed.”
Of Course, Congress didn’t pressurize to name the person!