Major lapse in security of PM a ‘failure’ of Centre: Congress leader Kharge

BENGALURU: Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge on Thursday alleged that the ‘major security lapse’ due to road blockade by some protesters which forced Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return without attending a public meeting at Ferozepur in Punjab, was “failure” of the Centre.
Modi was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes on Wednesday due to the blockade, an incident the Union home ministry described as a “major lapse” in his security.
However, Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi expressed regret after Modi had to cut short his visit to the state, but asserted that there was no security lapse.
Speaking to reporters here, Kharge said: “It is the failure of the Centre which is armed with Special Protection Group, Intelligence Bureau and other central agencies”.
He said, “How can you (Modi) say (that it’s a security lapse) when you are protected by police, SPG, IB, paramilitary forces and many other central agencies? By giving such statement you are insulting the people of Punjab.”
He also rejected “security threat to the Prime Minister because he is protected much more” compared to the security cover given to the then Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi.
“The PM has the security 10 times more than Nehru, Indira and Rajiv. He (Modi) has the best foreign made bulletproof car. Yet, they (BJP) are blaming the Punjab government,” Kharge said.
Accusing the BJP of trying to charge people emotionally, Kharge said the JP Nadda-led party wants to unseat Channi, who is a Dalit CM.
Kharge also alleged that the PM’s office changed the minute-to-minute programme in 20 minutes and opted reaching Firozepur by road instead of helicopter.
Defending the Punjab government, the veteran Congress leader said Channi has ordered a probe by a retired high court judge and a retired chief secretary and promised to initiate action based on the outcome of the report.
“There was no malafide intention behind the development as has been projected by the BJP leaders and their spokespersons. Modi is our Prime Minister and we respect him. We may talk politically but we are committed to respect and protecting him,” Kharge said.

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