Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh on Tuesday condemned the decision of the PM Narendra Modi-led Central Government to withdraw the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover from Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. Referring to the past incident with Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi's assassination he said that the government should learn a lesson and immediately take back their decision.
Speaking to the media, Digvijaya Singh said, "I strongly condemn the decision of taking back the SPG cover from the Nehru-Gandhi Family which has been earlier subjected to terrorist attacks and two of our leaders Mrs. Indira Gandhi and Rajeev Gandhi lost their lives. You would recollect earlier Govt has also withdrawn the security of Rajiv Gandhi and what happened later was a lesson. This is a lesson they should learn and immediately take back their decision. After all, this party has given this country three Prime Minister, they deserve full security."
Earlier, the Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot took to his official Twitter handle and alleged the government of 'vendetta politics'. Gehlot stated that the family has already lost two of its members to act of terror, and the SPG security cover was given to the family based on threat assessment.
Decision to withdraw SPG protection to Gandhi family is condemnable. Govt is compromising the lives of a family,which has lost two members to acts of terror. It's vendetta politics n of a very low level. They wr accorded SPG cover based on threat assessment n it must continue.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 8, 2019
The security cover given to leaders is to save their lives & this shd not be politicized.— Ashok Gehlot (@ashokgehlot51) November 8, 2019
If the decision has been taken by only HM, then the PM must intervene. He must ensure SPG security is not withdrawn. But if the decision has PM’s consent, then it is country’s misfortune.
The SPG has over 3,000 personnel. Based on threat perception, the Special Group protects the Prime Ministers as well as former Prime Ministers and their families. The SPG was set up in 1985 specifically for the security of Prime Ministers after the assassination of Indira Gandhi by her security guards a year before. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former PMs and their families for 10 years.
In 2003, the Vajpayee government amended the law again to bring down the automatic protection for 10 years to one year - or more depending on the level of threat as decided by the Centre. Earlier, the daughter of Manmohan Singh, as well as Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster daughter, had given up the SPG cover provided to them. While former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee had SPG cover till he passed away in 2018, former Prime Ministers HD Deve Gowda's and VP Singh's security was revoked.