PM Modi’s Punjab rally cancelled over ‘major security lapse’, MHA seeks report from state govt

BJP president JP Nadda blamed Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government for the fiasco.

PM Modi’s Punjab rally cancelled over ‘major security lapse’, MHA seeks report from state govt

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally in Punjab’s Ferozepur was today cancelled over a serious security lapse during his transit via road to the rally venue, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement. Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed from the stage that the rally was postponed for some reasons. The BJP, however, accused the Congress government of scuttling PM Modi’s rally.

Earlier today, PM Modi landed at Bathinda from where he was to go to the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter. However, due to rain and poor visibility, he had to wait for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear out but later, it was decided that he would be going by road.

“When the weather didn’t improve, it was decided that he would visit the National Martyrs Memorial via road, which would take more than 2 hours. He proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police…Around 30 kms away from National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when the PM’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors. The PM was stuck on the flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of PM,” said the MHA.

The Home Ministry also said that the PM’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab government and they were to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready.

“In view of the contingency plan, Punjab Government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which were clearly not deployed. After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport,” said the MHA and added that it has sought a detailed report from the state government over the security lapse. “State Government has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action,” said the MHA.

The BJP is yet to announce a new date for PM Modi’s rally. BJP president JP Nadda blamed Charanjit Singh Channi-led Congress government for the fiasco.

“Fearing a resounding defeat at the hands of the electorate, the Congress Government in Punjab tried all possible tricks to scuttle the PM Narendra Modi Ji’s programmes in the state. In doing they did not bother that the PM was to pay tributes to Bhagat Singh & other martyrs, and lay the foundation stone for key development works. By their cheap antics, Congress Government in Punjab has shown that they are anti-development & have no respect for freedom fighters too. What is extremely worrisome is that this incident was also a big security lapse as far as the PM is concerned. Protestors were given access to the Prime Minister’s route while the Punjab CS and DGP gave assurances to SPG that the route is clear,” alleged Nadda.

He also claimed that CM Channi refused to ‘get on the phone to either address the matter or solve it’. Reacting to the low turnout at the rally, Nadda alleged that the state police was instructed by the Congress government to prevent people from attending the rally. “Large number of buses were stranded because of the high-handedness of the police and connivance with protestors. It is sad that the PM’s visit to launch development projects worth thousands of crores for Punjab was disrupted. But we will not let such a cheap mentality hinder the progress of Punjab and will continue the effort for the development of Punjab,” said Nadda.

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First published on: 05-01-2022 at 15:12 IST