The Narendra Modi-led NDA government on Friday, November 8, removed the Special Protection Group (SPG) security cover of Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. According to sources, the security cover has been downgraded after a routine assessment taking the inputs of all agencies.

However, the Gandhi family will now enjoy a 'Z plus' security cover to be given by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The Centre's decision has been conveyed to the Gandhi family. An official of the Home Ministry said that the SPG security will be withdrawn from their New Delhi residence after the CRPF takes over the responsibility.

Soonia Rahul
Sonia Gandhi, mother of Congress President Rahul Gandhi at AICC headquarters handed over party's reins to her son on Saturday, December 16Twitter

Opposition calls it vendetta

Reacting on the Centre's move, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said that BJP is compromising the lives of the Gandhi family. "The BJP has descended to the ultimate personal vendetta mechanism, compromising the lives of family members of 2 Former Prime Ministers to acts of terror and violence," Ahmed Patel tweeted.

Earlier, the government has withdrawn the SPG security cover of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Singh enjoys a Z + security cover given by one of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs).

SPG to provide security to PM Modi

The SPG, an elite force of 3,000, provided protection to Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra apart from PM Modi. However, they are now tasked with protecting only the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The elite group of SPG provides protection to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Reuters

In the past, SPG cover for former prime ministers HD Deve Gowda and VP Singh had been withdrawn. But former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee enjoyed SPG cover until he died in 2018.