Gehlot says withdrawal of Gandhis’ SPG cover assault on democracy; Pilot seeks reinstatement

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Friday condemned the Centre’s decision to withdraw Special Protection Group security cover to Congress party president Sonia Gandhi, leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, calling it “vendetta politics of a very low level”.

Deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot demanded that the SPG cover should be immediately reinstated.

The Centre took the decision to withdraw the SPG cover of the Gandhis, who have been under the group’s protection since the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, on the recommendation of a security review panel.

They will be now protected by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), home ministry officials said on Friday.

Gehlot said in a series of tweets that the decision compromises the lives of a family which has lost two members to acts of terror.

“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 (sic),” Gehlot wrote.

“The security cover given to leaders is to save their lives & this shd not be politicized. 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 He must ensure SPG security is not withdrawn.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 (sic),” the chief minister said.

“The nation can never forget that former PM Indira Gandhi ji sacrificed her life fighting terror. Rajivji lost his life too in an act of terror. The SPG cover has been given to the PM, former PMs n their family members under an Act of Parliament and it should not be withdrawn (sic),” he said.

Sachin Pilot, who is also the president of the Congress’ state unit, commented on the decision through Twitter.

“Despite a clear threat to the Gandhi family, which has lost two family member & PMs to terror attacks. The decision of the Govt to reduce their security cover looks politicallly motivated. This is putting their lives at risk. Their SPG cover should be immediately reinstated (sic),” Pilot wrote.

The security cover of former prime minister Manmohan Singh was also downgraded recently after a security review. He is protected by CRPF now.

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