BJP, Congress lock horns over Ferozepur security breach

Amit Shah accuses Congress of colluding in security breach

A political slugfest broke out on Wednesday between the BJP and the Congress after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade, in a major security breach, got stranded on a flyover, 30 km away from Hussainiwala in Punjab, as a group of protesting farmers blocked his route.

Union Home minister Amit Shah termed the incident a “Congress-made trailer” of how the party “thinks and functions”. He accused the party of colluding in the security breach.

The Congress, through its general secretary, Randeep Singh Surjewala, in turn, accused the BJP of resorting to “unprecedented political drama” because of its “inability” to bring crowds to a political rally that was meant to be addressed by the Prime Minister.

Union Minister Smriti Irani hit out at the Punjab government and the Congress, saying, “We know the Congress hates Prime Minister Modi, but today, they tried to harm the Prime Minister of India. Such is the breakdown of law and order in Punjab that the DGP claims he is incapable of providing support to the PMO and security detail.”

‘No security breach’

The Congress asserted that there was no security breach of Mr. Modi’s motorcade. Mr. Surjewala said, “Don’t bring down the prestige of the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO] by dragging it into politics. Sensing defeat in Assembly polls, don’t try to use this in Uttar Pradesh.”

Addressing a virtual press conference, Mr. Surjewala claimed that 10,000 security personnel were deployed at the Ferozepur rally venue, where the Prime Minister was to land by chopper, and the decision to travel to Hussainiwala by road was a last minute one.

There was no prior information from the PMO about any alternative travel route and the Special Protection Group — primarily responsible for the Prime Minister’s security — shouldn’t have allowed Mr. Modi to proceed until everything was clear, he observed.

He claimed that the BJP also knew that the Kisan Sangharsh Mazdoor Committee (KMSC) was opposing Mr. Modi’s visit and Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat had two rounds of negotiations with them.

‘They are not terrorists’

“What should the police have done? Should the farmers have been shot dead,” he asked, adding, “They are not terrorists, Naxalites and Maoists”.

While he disapproved a tweet from Youth Congress chief B.V. Srinivas, who said ‘Modi ji, how’s Josh!” on the social media platform, Mr. Surjewala criticised Ms. Irani for her “ill-tempered” remarks against the Congress.

The Aam Aadmi Party, considered the main challenger to the Congress in Punjab Assembly polls, struck a different note and made a caution on the security breach. “Any lapse in security of the Prime Minister is unacceptable. Whatever our differences may be, every State government must provide highest level of security for the Prime Minister,” tweeted the party’s Punjab in charge Raghav Chadha.

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