Responding to Rajnath Singh’s allegations on Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi not complying with security arrangements during his recent Gujarat visit, senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Tuesday said the Home Minister was diverting the attention from the main issue, thus highlighting a lack of accountability. “We asked a straightforward question, for which we have not received any reply. Rather, the issue has been diverted to irrelevant areas such as non-compliance of security measures and Special Protection Group (SPG) Act. What is the point of discussing all this now? If security measures were in place, how is it that a BJP worker attacked Rahul Gandhi?” Tharoor told reporters on the sidelines of the Monsoon session of Lok Sabha.
Further, Tharoor opined that Rahul was being unnecessarily blamed for the attack on his convoy, rather than looking back at all the security arrangements that were made. He also said it was irrelevant to question why the grand old party’s frontrunner did not use the provisions of the SPC Act during his visits. “When there is no plausible security threat, why should Rahul waste the taxpayers’ money and use the SPG provisions? As a politician, one needs to talk to the public. We cannot be expected to travel in bullet-proof cars all the time,” he said. Tharoor also took to twitter to express his dissent, and said “Disappointed that HomeMinister sought2 divert blame from BJP youth leader’s attack onRG in BJP-ruled state. Accountability? #StonePelterBJP”
Earlier, Rajnath, while refuting reports of improper arrangements made during Rahul Gandhi’s recent Gujarat visit, said he did not use the bullet-proof vehicle that was provided by the police. Addressing the Monsoon session of Lok Sabha here, Rajnath argued that several police personnel were deployed for his safety, but the Congress frontrunner did not pay heed to the security arrangements made for him. “Rahul did not listen to the area police or the SPG officials, but only to his personal secretary. A large number of security personnel were deployed on the day, but Rahul did not sit in the vehicle provided by the police,” alleged Rajnath.
Rahul’s convoy was attacked on Friday when he was on his way to the helipad after visiting the flood-hit areas in Gujarat’s Dhanera. Following this, the police arrested one Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) worker, Jayesh Darji, on Saturday.
Disappointed that HomeMinister sought2 divert blame from BJP youth leader’s attack onRG in BJP-ruled state. Accountability? #StonePelterBJP
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) August 8, 2017
Re-iterating the same, Rajnath said the government is looking into the matter, and investigation is underway. “Rahul should have followed security related suggestions,” he further opined.
The Home Minister further accused Rahul of violating the Special Protection Group Act, 1988, (SPG) apart from being negligent of safety measures. “In the last two years, Rahul Gandhi was out for 72 days on six foreign tours, but didn’t take SPG cover during any of those visits. We want to know where did he go and why he didn’t take SPG cover,” argued Rajnath.
Rahul had blamed the BJP for the attack and said, “BJP workers threw a stone at me which hit my personal security officer (PSO). This is Prime Minister Modi and BJP-RSS’s way of politics. What can I say?” Rahul told the media. Earlier on Friday, Rahul took to Twitter and wrote, “Narendra Modi ji’s slogans, black flags and stones will not stop us…. We will put in all our might into the service of people.”
Condemning the incident, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said a senior officer was appointed to investigate into the incident and assured that strict action will be taken against the guilty.