Hitting out at Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge for alleging that Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi could have died in the attack on his convoy in Gujarat, Home Minister Rajnath Singh accused Gandhi scion of not following security protocols. He also accused Rahul of being negligent of his own safety when he traveled abroad on six occasions for 72 days without taking any SPG security along.
“In the last two years, Rahul Gandhi was out for 72 days on 6 foreign tours, but didn’t take SPG cover. We want to know where did he go? Why didn’t he take SPG cover. We want to know what is Rahul Gandhi trying to hide by not taking SPG along on foreign tours when he is a SPG protectee,” Rajnath Singh said during Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Tuesday.
“SPG protectee get security cover under an Act of Parliament reflecting the will and wisdom of Parliament for providing security. Going abroad without taking SPG cover is not only a violation of the SPG Act, but also negligence towards one’s own security,” he said. “Rahul Gandhi undertook 121 tours in the last 2 years, out of which there were 100 security protocol violations of not using Bulletin Resistance Car,” he added.
Continuing his scathing attack against Congress Vice-President, Rajnath singh said, “Adequate measures were were taken by the State police ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Banaskantha. Rahul did not listen to the area police or SPG officials but only his Personal secretary and did not travel with the car provided by the police,” he said during Question Hour in Lok Sabha on Tuesday. He also claimed that the Rahul had made frequent stops to meet and greet people which was not a part of the itinerary.
He also added that Gujarat’s Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has appointed an officer of the ADG rank to investigate the attack. He also congratulated the Gujarat police for arresting one person in connection with the case.
Referring to an earlier visit by Rahul Gandhi on July 21, 2017 to Gujarat, Rajnath said the Congress leader preferred to use a non-bullet resistance car inspite of security suggestions by SPG on the contrary.
His remarks came after Mallkarjun Kharge raised the issue of the attack on Rahul Gandhi’s envoy in Gujarat. Taking a jibe at the ruling party, Mallikarjun Kharge said, “Sadan mein BJP ke neta & sarkar ke taraf se ek waktavya aaya tha ki J&K mein jo pathhravbaazi ho rha hai wo terrorist kar rhe hain. Gujarat mein kaunse militant aaye, kya J&K se aaye, kya BJP ke karyakarta militant ban ke inki (R Gandhi) jaan lena chaahte thay.” (The government and BJP members said terrorists indulged in stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir. Which militants had come in Gujarat? Were they from Jammu and Kashmir or did BJP workers come as militants to attack Rahul Gandhi.)
Rajnath Singh’s comments made an uproar in the lower house after which it was adjourned for some time by Speaker Sumitra Mahajan.
Rahul Gandhi’s car was hit by stone when he was visiting the flood-affected areas Dhanera and Kankrej in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district last week. Congress leadership blamed BJP for the attack, while the saffron party called political stunt” ahead of assembly elections in the state.