New Delhi: The Special Protection Group (SPG) Amendment Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, even as the Congress staged a walkout from the House. The passage of the bill in the upper House means that it has now been cleared by the Parliament, having earlier been passed by the Lok Sabha.
It also emerged that the ‘security breach,’ which occurred at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi’s official residence two days ago, was actually ‘carried out’ by a family of Congress loyalists from Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut.
Here are some top reactions from Tuesday related to this issue:
Union Home Minister Amit Shah: “This is the fifth amendment in the SPG Act. This amendment is not brought in by keeping Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous four amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind.”
Denying Congress’ vendetta charge, he said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s SPG cover, too, shall be removed after five years. “SPG cannot be made a status symbol. We don’t oppose one family, we are against dynastic politics,’ the Home Minister further said.
BJP MP Subramanian Swamy: Swamy, the main litigant against the Gandhis in the National Herald case, remarked that the assassinations of former Prime Ministers Indira and Rajiv Gandhi had nothing to do with security. “There cannot be a separate Constitution for the Gandhis. We want them to be alive because I want to see them go to jail for corruption,” he added.
BJP MP GVL Narasimha Rao: “As a leader of the global war against terror, PM Modi is the most targeted global leader. India’s enemies are Congress family sympathisers. SPG is not special privileges for Gandhis.”
Businessman Robert Vadra: Vadra, Priyanka Gandhi’s husband, connected the issue of her ‘security breach’ with that of women’s safety in general. “It’s not about the security for Priyanka, my daughter and son or me or the Gandhi family. It’s about keeping our citizens especially the women of our country, safe. Girls are being molested/raped. The security of every citizen is the government’s responsibility,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra: Accusing the Congress of hypocrisy, the BSP legislator said that the Rajasthan government, too, had removed party leaders’ security after six BSP MLAs jumped ship to the Congress. “It’s OK when you yourself do it, but not when others do,” said Mishra.
AICC General Secretary KC Venugopal: “The massive security breach at the residence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra proves that with the withdrawal of SPG protection, Modi and Shah together have put the lives of our leaders at risk.”
The Congress has repeatedly disrupted proceedings and staged walkouts from both Houses in the ongoing winter session of Parliament. The Gandhis now enjoy a Z+ category cover provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Earlier, the SPG cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, too, was revoked. He, too, was given the Z+ security cover.
With the passage of the SPG (Amendment) Bill, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the sole SPG protectee in the country now.