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Amid row over Gandhis’ security cover, SPG amendment bill to be introduced in Lok Sabha

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New Delhi, Nov 22: Amid row over withdrawal of Special Protection Group (SPG) protection of Gandhis, the Centre is mulling to introduce an amendment bill next week in Parliament, reserving special protection only for the present prime minister.

Listing out the government's business for next week in Lok Sabha, Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal said besides other bills, the SPG (Amendment) Bill will also be introduced.

Amid row over Gandhis’ security cover, SPG amendment bill to be introduced in Lok Sabha

The SPG is an armed force of the government for providing proximate security to the Prime Minister, former prime ministers and members of their immediate families. It was formed in the year 1988. The SPG has 3,000 personnel deputed from the ITBP, CRPF, and CISF.

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This comes days after the government withdrew the SPG protection given to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after almost three decades.

The security of the Gandhi family is now being taken over by commandos trained by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the House, veteran Congress Anand 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.

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Countering the charges, BJP's JP Nadda said there was "nothing political" about the decision.

"There is nothing political, security hasn't been withdrawn. Home Ministry has a very set pattern and there is protocol. It is not done by a politician, it is done by the home ministry and according to the threat perception the security is given and withdrawn," said Nadda, working president of the BJP.

With the burden on the security and exchequer getting heavier, the government had decided to review the security cover to former prime ministers and their family members.

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