According to the media reports, On 8th November 2019, the SPG cover has been withdrawn from Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. Some in Congress are using this to allege the political vendetta on the part of the Modi government.
There are two points broadly which counter such claims:
- The government has not stripped-off the ‘security cover’ of the Nehru-Gandhi family, but only the SPG cover has been reportedly withdrawn. Commandos from the para-military force continue to give security cover to these people.
- In numerous instances, the members of the Nehru-Gandhi family have avoided SPG cover and rather shown disrespect to the security cover provided to them. So, how can one complain if such security cover is withdrawn from the people who are already reluctant to use it?
Special Protection Group (SPG) cover is given to VVIPs who have a threat in public places. In place of it, now the Sonia family has been guaranteed Z+ security cover.
Moreover, the number of times when the SPG rules have been violated by the Gandhis is also quite large.
- Answering a question in Parliament, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that Rahul Gandhi did not avail SPG BR vehicles for 100 occasions out of his 121 visits between April 2015 to June 2017
- Out of total 156 foreign visits that he undertook since 1991 he did not take SPG officers on 143 visits. In most of these 143 foreign visits he shared the travel itinerary at eleventh hours preventing the SPG officers from accompanying him on the tours.
- Since 2015 till May 2019, there have been 1892 occasions when Rahul Gandhi travelled in a non-BR (bullet-resistant) vehicle in Delhi.
- There have been 247 occasions till June 2019 when he travelled in a non-BR vehicle outside Delhi
- The violations increased the possibility of mishaps. Like on 4th Aug 2017, while travelling in a non-BR car in Banaskantha against advice of SPG, there was an incident of stone-pelting on the car of Rahul Gandhi in which the SPG PSO was injured. The injury could have been avoided had the SPG BR-car was used
The Gandhi trio has not stopped just on violations. They went a step further to level allegations against the SPG
- In a press conference, Rahul Gandhi alleged that, “When Mr Modi came to power, a person from Gujarat was chosen to head the SPG. In a short time, he left the position. He told me that he refused a list of SPG officers handpicked by the RSS, and that is why he was sent home”
- The government rebutted this allegation saying the officer in question didn’t have any such conversation with Rahul Gandhi. Read more in our previous article Rahul Gandhi’s Lie on SPG Cover Busted
- Priyanka Gandhi in her election campaign in 2019 had snubbed an SPG officer. His only fault was to prevent people from coming near Priyanka, a job he is officially bound to do.
In the light of all these factors, it seems ingenuous when Congress tries to make a controversy out of this.