Maha reduces security cover of Fadnavis, Raj Thackeray
Mumbai: The Maharashtra government has reduced the security cover of former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and his family, former UP governor Ram Naik and MNS president Raj Thackeray, and withdrawn the security cover of state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil.
State BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhye termed the action unfortunate and a "vendetta" of the ruling coalition against his party's leaders.
Fadnavis, who is at present leader of opposition in the state Assembly, alleged that the government was now giving security "on the basis of politics", and that this would not impact his plans to travel and meet people.
However, state Home Minister Anil Deshmukh rejected the opposition BJP's charge and said the security of political leaders was reviewed as per the prevailing threat perception.
As per a government notification issued on January 8, Fadnavis will now get 'Y-plus security with escort', instead of the 'Z-plus' cover. The security of his wife Amruta Fadnavis and daughter Divija has been downgraded from 'Y-plus with escort' to 'X' category.
Former Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik will now get 'Y' cover instead of 'Y-plus'.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray's security cover has been downgraded from 'Z' to 'Y plus with escort'.
The security covers of BJP leader and former CM Narayan Rane, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and senior party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar have been withdrawn. Rane had 'Y-plus' security.
Besides, the security of state Lokayukta M L Tahiliani has been downgraded from 'Z' to 'Y'. According to sources, the 'Z-plus' security comprises a bullet-proof car, a police inspector, two assistant police inspectors, two police sub-inspectors, two escort vehicles with six constables in each, and 10 other constables at any given point of time, while the 'Z' category has a security cover of 22 personnel.
The 'Y' category comprises a security cover of 11 personnel, while the 'X' category has a security cover of two personnel, the sources said.
The government, as per the notification, has upgraded the security of two persons, downgraded of 11, withdrawn of 16, while 13 new people have got security cover.
Prominent among the new persons to get security are Sunetra Pawar, wife of state Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and Varun Sardesai, secretary of the Yuva Sena and nephew of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's wife Rashmi Thackeray.
Both have been given 'X' security cover.
Union minister Ramdas Athawale will get only 'Y-plus' security instead of the 'Y-plus with escort', while central minister Raosaheb Danve's 'Y-plus' cover has been withdrawn.
The government has also withdrawn the security cover of former minister Rajkumar Badole, BJP MLAs Prasad Lad and Ram Kadam, and former speaker and BJP MLA Haribhau Bagade. The state has also withdrawn the 'X' category security of former Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh, who quit the party, and BJP's former minister Shobhatai Fadnavis, an aunt of Devendra Fadnavis.
Senior advocate Ujjwal Nikam's 'Y-plus with escort' cover has been upgraded to 'Z', while film actor and Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha's 'Y-plus' cover has been upgraded to 'Y-plus with escort'.
The security of BJP's former minister Ashish Shelar has been downgraded from 'Y-plus' to 'Y'.
State Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Naik Nimbalkar and Relief and Rehabilitation minister Vijay Wadettiwar will get 'Y-plus with escort', while Shiv Sena MLA Vaibhav Naik, who had defeated Narayan Rane in the 2014 Assembly polls, will get 'X' security cover.
Current state ministers Sandeepan Bhumre, Sunil Kedar, Dilip Walse Patil and Abdul Sattar, Leader of Opposition in the Council Pravin Darekar and state Assembly's Deputy Speaker Narhari Zhirwal have been given 'Y' cover. Meanwhile, state BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhye alleged that the security of Fadnavis and other BJP leaders was downgraded out of "political vendetta".