The BJP and the Congress are continuing the slugfest on Prime Minister car being caught in Punjab farmers’ stir on Wednesday afternoon forcing the PM to return to Bhatinda airport ‘alive.’ Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his partymen to thank Punjab chief minister since he had reached Bhatinda airport alive. Modi remained stuck for twenty minutes on the flyover, just about ten minutes from the destination, Ferozepur, because of the roadblock by the farmers.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said it is unacceptable that the prime minister’s security was not taken seriously and for the first time an Indian prime minister had to return from his schedule because of security problem. He asked Punjab government to send a detailed report. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the matter pertaining to the failure of PM’s security on Friday. The PM also met President Ram Nath Kovind to explain the problem in person. Modi had given first hand report to Kovind. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi had briefed Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the incident.
Smriti Irani, another union minister, said “People know that the Congress hates Narendra Modi but the Congress government in Punjab deliberately neglected the security of prime minister of India.” PM Modi was on his way to Ferozpur where he planned to launch development works worth some Rs. 4700 crore. He landed at Bhatinda airport and waited at the airport for twenty minutes and then decided to travel by road for more than hundred km to reach destination. It would have taken two hours.
Farmers were informed by the police that they have to get away and allow the prime minister to travel. However, the farmers said on Thursday that they thought the cops were cutting joke and did not think that Modi would pass that way since they were aware that a helipad was made ready at Ferozepur. The farmers were actually going to the office of the police commissioner. When they were stopped by the police, they blocked the road.
The BJP alleged connivance between the Punjab government and the police while the Congress spokesman said the farmers’ protest was an excuse as there were no crowds at the meeting place in Ferozepur. The moot point is what was the Special Protection Group (SPG) on which about Rs. 430 crore is spent every year and which is supposed to take care of PM’s security, doing? How did it allow PM to travel until the trouble-spot. It could be possible that the Punjab police were informed about the change in PM’s travel plans late, but the SPG must have been part of the decision making process. What was it doing?