The Centre on Wednesday asked Priyanka Gandhi to vacate her bungalow in Lutyens' Delhi within a month following withdrawal of her SPG protection.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday urged the Centre to withdraw the orders directing Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to vacate her government accommodation in Delhi.
Taking exception to the Centre’s order, Singh urged the government to withdraw the same in the interest of Gandhi’s security and safety.
The Centre on Wednesday asked the Congress leader to vacate her bungalow in Lutyens’ Delhi within a month following withdrawal of her SPG protection.
According to an order issued by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, Gandhi was asked to vacate her bungalow on or before August 1 failing which “it will attract damage charges/penal rent as per rules”.
The Punjab chief minister said the central government should reinstate Priyanka Gandhi’s SPG cover and restore her accommodation in view of the threat perception which she continues to have as a member of the Gandhi family.
“Political considerations and differences cannot and should not be allowed to come in the way of ensuring foolproof security and safety of any person, especially when that person belongs to a family that had lost two members to terror attacks,” he said in a statement here.
Singh said neither the withdrawal of Priyanka Gandhi’s SPG cover nor the cancellation of her government accommodation was ‘justifiable’ in the circumstances.
Any compromise on Priyanka Gandhi’s safety could be construed as a ‘political witch-hunt’, especially when these orders have come at a time when she has been strongly and unrelentingly criticising the handling of the COVID-19 crisis in Uttar Pradesh, especially the prime minister’s parliamentary constituency of Varanasi, he warned.
All people, irrespective of their ideology, have the right to criticise and demand explanations from the government in a democracy, Singh said, adding it is even more applicable to politicians.
The senior Congress leader also noted that despite the continued political attacks on his government by the opposition Akali leadership, he has personally ensured that the Badal family’s safety is not put at stake at any cost.
Not only had he offered SAD patron Parkash Singh Badal continued use of a government house in the state, his government had complimented the central security of the former chief minister with a huge posse of Punjab Police personnel, he observed.
“Bullet proof land cruisers and vehicles for Badal’s security had been arranged by the government and would continue to be provided, irrespective of the differences between the ruling Congress and the SAD in Punjab,” the chief minister added.