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Withdrawal of Gandhi family's SPG cover 'planned conspiracy': Gehlot

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: November 9, 2019  | 18:02 IST

Jaipur, Nov 9 (PTI) Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot hit out at the BJP government at the Centre over withdrawal of SPG cover given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, son Rahul and daughter Priyanka and termed it "a planned conspiracy". The government on Friday replaced the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover given to the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, by the 'Z-plus' security of the CRPF. Seeking to know the "logic and reason" behind the move, Gehlot said sometime back the SPG had warned of threats to Rahul Gandhi from the Naxals, extremists and terror groups like Al-Qaeda. "The SPG cover has been unceremoniously withdrawn and I condemn it. The security cover of SPG was accorded as per an act of parliament. The SPG had sometime back warned that Rahul Gandhi has threat from Naxals, who are active from Chhattisgarh to Wayanad (Rahul Gandhi's constituency in Kerala), and terror groups like Al-Qaeda," the chief minister said at a press conference here. "What is the logic and reason behind suddenly withdrawing the SPG cover? This is a family which lost two members, one sitting prime minister Indira Gandhi and one ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. (PM Narendra) Modi should reply," he said. Gehlot said that in 2014-15 he had written to then home minister Rajnath Singh and had complained that that a change in the SPG's working was visible. "I had pointed out that there were some kind of laxity in (the SPG's) working. The SPG was not getting cooperation from local police and had cited example of Sonia Gandhi's visits to Kota and other places. I had asked (then home minister) to strengthen the functioning (of the force). Now, Amit Shah is the home minister. What is the reason that such a decision was taken when he is the home minister?" he asked. It is a well-planned conspiracy, Gehlot said. On reports about security breach by Rahul Gandhi, the chief minister alleged that it was the prime minister who breaches the security norms and should not do this. "Modi breaches SPG security rules. He is the prime minister and he should not do this. He should follow security rules," Gehlot said. Officials claimed on Friday that Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka have not used bullet-resistent vehicles on hundreds of occasions over the years and did not take SPG commandos along with them on most of their foreign travels. On the impasses in government formation in Maharashtra, Gehlot said Congress MLAs from the state arrived in Jaipur and Shiv Sena also had to shift their MLAs to a hotel. "PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah took the election campaign (in Haryana and Maharashtra) to a high pitch and gave impression as if both of their chief ministers were going to head the new governments again, but people have given them a message. This is why, they got disturbed and are taking such decisions which are being criticised all over," he said. The three-decade-old alliance between the BJP and its oldest ally Shiv Sena appeared to be on shaky ground after Devendra Fadnavis, who quit as chief minister on Friday, and Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray were engaged in a bitter public showdown over sharing the chief ministership in Maharashtra. Fadnavis and Thackeray traded charges over power-sharing arrangement at their respective news conferences shortly after the BJP leader drove to Raj Bhavan and handed over his resignation to Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, five years and a week after he assumed the state's top job. PTI SDA NSD NSD

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