Shivraj Chouhan granted Z-Plus security along with CM Kamal Nath (File Photo)
Days after stepping down as the Madhya Pradesh chief minister, BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been given Z-Plus security yet again on Tuesday, according to sources. With the change of guard following the recently concluded Assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh, an uncertainty was prevailing over Chouhan's security cover for the last few days. However, this is the first time that both the chief minister and his predecessor will be granted 'Z-Plus' security together in a state.
Chouhan, the former chief minister, changed his Twitter bio to 'common man of Madhya Pradesh' after the BJP, on December 11, in a nerve-wracking see-saw battle with the Congress, had been relegated to the second spot with 109 seats in the 199-member state Assembly. Post that, Kamal Nath, the new chief minister of Madhya Pradesh was provided with Z-Plus security by the Home Ministry while any clear directives were awaited on the security status of Chouhan.
Briefing the media about Chouhan and Nath's security status, officials at the police headquarters said, "SSC will take a call on Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Kamal Nath’s security. Additional security cover around Chouhan was withdrawn immediately after he demitted office".
The Union Home Ministry had in 2017 decided to provide Z-Plus security to then chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, in view of the threat from terrorist organisation SIMI.
On October 31, 2016, eight terrorists from the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) were shot dead on the outskirts of Bhopal, hours after the undertrials slit the throat of a guard and escaped from a highly fortified city prison in a daring jailbreak.
Following the state police's controversial encounter with SIMI operatives in Bhopal, All-India Anti-Terrorist Front chairman Maninderjit Singh Bitta warned of a possible “assassination” plot of Chouhan, the then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.
Days after the encounter, Muslims also huddled in a mosque and claimed that the killing was stage-managed. After initial resistance, the Shivraj-led BJP government agreed to a judicial probe into the encounter, amid a widespread backlash by media and public.
Security arrangements of a chief minister/ministers are decided as per the guidelines mentioned in the 'Yellow Book'. After careful assessment of threat perception by the SSC, security is provided in Z+, Z, Y+, Y and X categories.