New Delhi: The Narendra Modi-led government has issued fresh guidelines and made some changes related to the security cover accorded to the Gandhis. Notably, the Centre has now made it mandatory for the SPG personnel to accompany Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at all times whenever they travel abroad.
Till now, the SPG personnel accompanying Gandhis on their foreign trip would travel with them till their first location abroad after that the Gandhis, preferring their privacy, would send them back to India.
As per the new rule, the Gandhi family will now submit all details related to their travel now, failing which could result in curtailment on their foreign visits on account of security considerations. If reports are to be believed, the Centre has also asked them (Gandhis) to furnish details of their past foreign tours.
The SPG, which comprises an elite force personnel of 3,000 officers, is meant to provide security cover to Prime Ministers, former Prime Ministers and their families.
The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her security guards in 1984. After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former Prime Ministers and their families for 10 years.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee continued to get SPG cover from 2004 when he demitted office till his death in 2018. During its full tenure that began in 1999, the Vajpayee government conducted a major review of the SPG’s operations in 2003. After the review, the SPG cover of former Prime Ministers PV Narasimha Rao, HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral was withdrawn.
On August 26, the government had withdrawn the SPG security cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, downgrading it to Z+ rank.