Days after the Union Home Ministry downgraded the security cover of the Gandhi family from SPG to Z+ level, on Thursday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra finally broke her silence on the decision by the Ministry of Home Affairs. On being asked about the removal of SPG cover, she said, "That's a part of politics. It keeps happening."
Top Congress party leaders have accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of engaging in "vendetta politics". Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said the move shows the BJP's "mental bankruptcy". Indian Youth Congress members protested outside Home Minister Amit Shah's residence. Hundreds of Congress youth-wing members on Wednesday descended on the streets in central Delhi and burnt an effigy of Home Minister Amit Shah to protest the withdrawal of SPG security cover of the Gandhi family.
The Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday countered the claims made by Congress over the withdrawal of the Special Protection Group (SPG) cover of the Gandhi family. The President of the BJP, JP Nadda said that the decision made by the Centre was nothing political but was taken by the Home Ministry following all protocols. This statement comes after the Congress gave a Suspension of Business Notice in Rajya Sabha under rule 267 over the removal of the SPG cover security for Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. Addressing the Rajya Sabha JP Nadda said, "There is nothing political, security hasn't been withdrawn. Home Ministry has a very set pattern & there is a protocol. It is not done by a politician, it is done by the Home Ministry and according to threat perception the security is given & withdrawn."
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.