New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday asked home minister P. Chidambaram to ensure that the security of political leaders isn’t compromised, according to a senior cabinet minister who didn’t want to be named.
No change: UP chief minister Mayawati. She is one of the leaders whose security cover was said to have been under review. Pawan Kumar / Reuters
Singh acted after political parties attacked his government in Parliament on Thursday over alleged moves by the home ministry to scale down security for leaders such as Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
Both Houses of Parliament were repeatedly adjourned on Thursday amid protests by slogan-shouting members of Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the SP and the RJD as well as the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that disrupted proceedings.
According to the senior minister, the Prime Minister was angered by the home ministry’s move and asked Chidambaram to ensure that there is no compromise in the protection given to political leaders.
The politicians alleged that the home ministry, which is currently reviewing the security for 395 so-called VVIPs, or very, very important persons, in the Capital, is planning to scale down their protective cover.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj said in the Lok Sabha that the government was also downgrading the security cover of her senior colleague Murli Manohar Joshi.
The Prime Minister acted to avoid “further alienation” of the ruling Congress party from its allies and supporting parties, said a senior Congress leader who didn’t want to be named. The government has already been under attack for a joint statement signed by Singh and his Pakistan counterpart Yousaf Raza Gilani in Egypt for delinking the composite dialogue process between the two countries from the issue of terrorism.