Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday said that the removal of SPG cover from the Gandhi family was part of politics which keeps happening. “That's a part of politics. It keeps happening,” she said while speaking to reports in the national capital. She also said the country's economy is in a ‘bad state’ and there is a ‘severe slowdown’, to which the Congress has been drawing the government's attention, and the Centre must do something about it.
“Economy is in very bad state, there is slowdown and the govt must do something,” Priyanka Gandhi said.
Meanwhile, Congress leader Anand Sharma on Wednesday demanded in Rajya Sabha restoration of the SPG cover to the Gandhi family and former prime minister Manmohan Singh by "rising above partisan politics" but senior BJP leaders maintained the decision was taken by the Home Ministry based on threat perception.
The central government earlier this month replaced the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover given to Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi, daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former prime minister Singh by the 'Z-plus' security of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the House, veteran Congress MP Sharma said there was a clear evaluation of threat perceptions to the four leaders and withdrawal of SPG cover makes them vulnerable.
"It is the responsibility of the state to protect its leaders," he said, while pointing out that the Congress-led UPA government had not disturbed security cover of former prime ministers, including that of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and also of other protectees
Thee security cover was neither diluted nor withdrawn during the 10-years of UPA rule, he added. He further said that after withdrawal of the SPG cover to Gandhis and Singh there are concerns which are well founded.
"We would urge the government that these issues of personal safety, security and lives of our leaders have to be beyond partisan political considerations.
Defending the government's decision to downgrade the security cover, senior BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said the decision has been taken by the Home Ministry, and moreover the threat perception to the Gandhis has disappeared with the end of the LTTE in Sri Lanka.
"Threat perceptions have always been the judgement of the Home Ministry...It has been always been a special committee in the Home Ministry which decides. If there is any question about it, one can go to court and challenge it," he said.
He further said the threat originally arose out of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).