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“SPG Bill will restore its original intent,” Amit Shah defends amendment

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Amit Shah

Amid uproar over the amendment to the Special Protection Group (SPG) Act and the recent withdrawal of top level SPG cover to the Gandhi family, Home Minister Amit Shah accused the previous governments of amending the original law and “diluting” it and told the Lok Sabha today that the SPG (Amendment) Bill will restore the law’s original intent to protect only the prime minister and former prime minister.

He also clarified that security for the Gandhis had “not been removed but replaced”.

According to the proposed amendment, the SPG commandos will protect only the prime minister; and former prime ministers and their families will not get the coveted SPG security cover.

The SPG, an elite force of 3,000, is now tasked with protecting only Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The term ‘Special’ indicates its special purpose. Many countries have such elite and compact cover exclusively for their respective heads of state. There is a misconception that the SPG is only about physical protection. It is not just physical security but also about covering the prime minister”s office, his health and communications as well,” he said.

The amendment states that the period of protection for former prime ministers and their immediate families will be capped at five years when in the past it could be extended based on threat perception.

While introducing the SPG (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the lower House on Monday, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said in the existing Act there is no cut-off period for the SPG cover.

“In such a scenario, there can be severe constraint on resources, training and related infrastructure of the SPG. This can also impact the effectiveness of the elite force in providing adequate cover to the principle protectee,” the bill says.

But the Congress is demanding that SPG cover should be provided to former prime ministers and their family members for the rest of their lives.

“Security is provided on the basis of a threat perception and assessment. Based on the security assessment, a level of cover is provided – be it X or X+, Y or Y+, Z or Z+ and so on. But my question is that is a threat assessment 100% accurate? Can there not be an incident despite of the security assessment?” Congress leader Manish Tewari asked.

He added that in countries such as the US, Secret Service guards former presidents for the rest of their lives.

Earlier this month, the SPG cover to the Gandhi family – Sonia Gandhi and her children, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was withdrawn.

The government had said that the decision was based on a “reassessment” of their threat perception.

All three Gandhi family members now have Z+ category security. Z+ security means each of the Gandhis will be guarded by around 100 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

The move provoked a furious response with party leaders accusing the centre of “playing with the lives” of the Gandhis. The Gandhi family, which has seen the assassination of two members, has always been among India’s most protected.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s SPG cover was withdrawn in August.

The SPG was set up in 1985 for the security of prime ministers after the assassination of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her security guards a year before.

After the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the SPG Act was amended to provide security to former prime ministers and their families for 10 years.

In 2003, the Vajpayee government amended the law again to bring down the automatic protection for 10 years to one year — or more depending on the level of threat as decided by the centre.

During the Vajpayee regime, the SPG cover of former PMs such as HD Deve Gowda, IK Gujaral and PV Narasimha Rao were withdrawn.

However, Vajpayee himself enjoyed SPG protection until his death last year. Under the current SPG Act, family members of an incumbent or former PM can decline security cover. Manmohan Singh’s daughters declined SPG cover after his tenure ended.

The SPG is highly trained in physical efficiency, marksmanship, combat and proximate protection tactics and is assisted by all central and state agencies to ensure foolproof security. The SPG offers an Advance Liaison Team that screens places that the protectees will visit.

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Arvind Kejriwal 10 promises ahead of Delhi Civic polls, promises corruption-free MCD

Aside from releasing his party’s 10 promises ahead of the MCD polls, the Delhi Chief Minister also scrutinized the BJP for their alleged inadequacy in governing the MCD. The Delhi Chief Minister in his address also urged the public to vote for a party that stops some work, instead vote for a party that does the work. He further added to vote for people who let you do Yoga, instead of voting for people who stop you from doing it.

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MCD elections 2022: AAP announces second list of 117 candidates

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, on Friday, addressed a press conference where he released 10 promises of the Aam Aadmi Party for MCD elections. Delhi CM 10 guarantees for the MCD elections include solving the garbage mountain issues, beautifying Parks, clean streets.

Arvind Kejriwal’s 10 promises include the beautification of Delhi, which will include the elimination of 3 garbage mountains in Delhi. Elimination of corruption inside MCD offices and bringing in measures and transparency to tackle corruption. Regulating minor encroachment done by residents of Delhi. Relief from parking issues in the state of Delhi.

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The Delhi CM while taking cognizance of the stray situation in Delhi also promised to tackle it. He further guaranteed MCD roads to be repaired and looked after if AAP comes to power in MCD polls. The Delhi CM also promised to take care of the schools and hospitals and turn them into a better state.

The rest of the promises include beautifying parks that come under MCD, timely pay of MCD employees, respite in licensing for businessmen. The Delhi CM also promised to take cognizance of Police actions that led to the sealing of shops in Delhi, in order to give the shop owners some relief.

Aside from releasing his party’s 10 promises ahead of the MCD polls, the Delhi Chief Minister also scrutinized the BJP for their alleged inadequacy in governing the MCD. The Delhi Chief Minister in his address also urged the public to vote for a party that stops some work, instead vote for a party that does the work. He further added to vote for people who let you do Yoga, instead of voting for people who stop you from doing it.

The Delhi CM asked the people to vote for people who build schools and vote for people who work for the betterment of Delhi.

MCD Elections

Delhi MCD election will be held on December 4 and votes will be counted on December 7

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CPI’s K Narayana says governor system is not useful, alleges governors are being used as tools by Centre

K Narayana further stated and alleged that governors are being used as a tool to disturb the non-BJP states and further remarked that governors should follow clear guidelines of the constitution. Governors don’t have the right to intervene and demanded the recall of all the governors, stated K Narayana.

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The Communist Party of India’s National secretary, K Narayana, on Thursday, said that the governor model is not useful for India. K Narayana while speaking on the ongoing row between the Telangana Government and governor Tamilisai, as well as in the case of Kerala Governor Arif Khan and Pinarayi Government, launched an attack on the centre and urged the removal of governors from all states.

CPI’s K Narayan in his statement to the press stated that the governor system is not useful for a country like India. He further added that the governors in the non-BJP-led states are creating problems for the state government. He further named West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and the latest Telangana as examples.

K Narayana further stated and alleged that governors are being used as a tool to disturb the non-BJP states and further remarked that governors should follow clear guidelines of the constitution. Governors don’t have the right to intervene and demanded the recall of all the governors, stated K Narayana.

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Telangana Governor and TRS

The remark by CPI K Narayan comes after recently the Telangana governor, Tamilisai Soundararajan accused the state government of phone tapping. The accusations came after the MLA poaching case came to and the TRS outfit named the governor’s former ADS, Tushar Mehta. Governor Soundararajan added to her attack and stated that it has become an undemocratic situation in Telangana.

Pinarayi government and Kerala Governor

Pinarayi government on November 9 removed governor Arif Mohammad Khan as Chancellor of universities after passing an ordinance. The Senior CPIM leader, Thomas Isaac, accused Governor Arif Mohammad Khan of concocting to appoint BJP sympathizers as VCs of universities. Isaac further added that it is not acceptable to the people in the State and further said that there is no choice other than the removal of the Governor from the post of Chancellor.

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Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge replies to BJP’s claims against his party in Himachal Pradesh Rally, says BJP only takes credit

Kharge, rebutting to BJP’s claims also counter-question and alleged that Himachal established and crossed milestones regarding colleges, electricity, and roads. He further added that the BJP is taking credit for the work of the preceding government.

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The newly elected Congress President, Mallikarjun Kharge, on Wednesday, addressed a poll meeting at Banuti in which he retorted to the claims made by the BJP.Congress President in his address talked about alleged baseless claims of Congress’s lack of democracy in the party.

Kharge also expounded on BJP allegedly taking credit for work done by the preceding government in Himachal.

Congress party President Kharge, while addressing the meeting, stated that he has been appointed as the Congress President through a fair voting system and added blasted the BJP’s President, JP Nadda, on how he ended up becoming the Bhartiya Janata Party president, countering claims coined by Bhartiya Janata Party.

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Kharge also alleged and expounded on the questions raised by the BJP government on Congress where the BJP outfit has incessantly launched an attack on Congress while asking what the Congress outfit has done in the last 70 years.

Kharge, rebutting to BJP’s claims also counter-question and alleged that Himachal established and crossed milestones regarding colleges, electricity, and roads. He further added that the BJP is taking credit for the work of the preceding government.

BJP in Himachal Pradesh

Whereas, Congresses counterpart, BJP, has also been rallying across Himachal ahead of Himachal elections. Narendra Modi has also come in to rally for the BJP as he addressed a rally in Sujanpur. Narendra Modi in his address had launched a staunch attack on the Congress Party.

The Prime Minister opined that Congress’s condition have been deteriorating and added that even Congress have been receded and wiped out of their stronghold states. PM Modi further alleged that Congress has long history of making false promises and false guarantees.

Himachal Pradesh assembly elections

The two outfits have been campaigning ahead of the Himachal Pradesh assembly election which is set to be held on November 12. Himachal will witness a single phase polling in 68 Assembly seats and the counting date of the votes will be December 8.
BJP swept the seats in the last assembly elections by winning 44 of 68 seats, whereas, Congress could only tally up to 21 seats.

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