Millennium Post

Parl passes Bill to amend SPG Act, Shah rejects political vendetta charge

Parl passes Bill to amend SPG Act, Shah rejects political vendetta charge

New Delhi: Parliament on Tuesday passed a Bill to provide the elite Special Protection Group (SPG) security only to the Prime Minister and for a restricted period to ex-PMs, with Union Home minister Amit Shah rejecting the Opposition's charge of political vendetta and asserting the government was concerned about security of all 130 crore Indians and not just the Gandhi family.

The Congress, which alleged that the law governing the SPG was being changed to target the Gandhi family and will imperil the life of its leaders, expressed dissatisfaction with Shah's reply and staged a walkout along with some other Opposition parties as the SPG (Amendment) Bill was passed by voice vote in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.

On November 27, Lok Sabha had passed the Bill under which SPG cover will be provided only to the Prime Minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence and any former PM and members of his immediate family "residing with him at the residence allotted to him for a period of five years from the date he ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister".

Replying to a debate on the Bill, Shah said the BJP does not carry out any action with a vindictive approach and it was the Congress that took many such decisions in the past.

He said earlier four amendments in SPG Act were done focusing on one family. Shah said no discussion happened when security cover reviews of former Prime Ministers including PV Narasimha Rao, IK Gujral, Chandra Shekhar, HD Deve Gowda and recently Manmohan Singh were undertaken.

"Security cover must not be treated as a status symbol by individuals. The SPG security cover is meant specifically for the Prime Minister and must not be enjoyed by any other individual," he said.

The Congress, which criticised the amendment, walked out of Rajya Sabha saying it is dissatisfied with the Home Minister's reply on the amendment to the SPG Act.

On the security breach at the residence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Shah said it was a "coincidence" as the security was informed that her brother Rahul Gandhi would be visiting her in a black 'Tata Safari' SUV. But instead of him some Congress workers from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh came in a similar vehicle and so were allowed in the house.

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