Rahul ’priceless treasure’, should be mindful of security: Rajnath


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Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday sought to know why Rahul Gandhi was touring abroad without the elite Special Protect Group security cover and wondered whether he had something to “hide”.

Singh was responding to the Congress attack on the Centre for its “failure” to provide adequate security to Rahul during his visit to flood-hit parts of Gujarat on Friday when he faced a “life-threatening” stone-pelting attack.

“Had he been injured by stone pelters, he (Rahul) would have lost his life. There were attempts to kill him. He is the son of a martyr, we are not afraid,” Mallikarjun Kharge, the Congress leader, said in the Lok Sabha as his party colleagues stormed the well to protest the attack.

The Home Minister described Rahul as a “priceless treasure” of the nation and suggested that he should be mindful of security protocols.

Singh rejected the charge of lapse in security. “There was no lack of security. There were two bullet resistant cars, but he (Rahul) did not use it,” he said. The Lok Sabha witnessed disruptions and the proceedings were adjourned for the day.

“In the past two years, he (Rahul) had carried out 121 planned and unplanned tours. He did not use bullet-resistant cars on 100 occasions,” the Home Minister said adding that the violation of security protocols by Rahul Gandhi has been brought to the notice of the Congress president.

He said the Congress vice president had undertaken six foreign visits spanning over 72 days without the SPG cover as mandated by an Act of Parliament.

“Where did he go? Deliberately, he did not move with SPG cover. What does he want to hide by not taking the SPG along, the nation and the House would like to know,” Singh said turning the tables on the Congress.

The Home Minister said Rahul always informed the SPG about his tours at the “eleventh hour” that created problems in providing proper security.

Even during the Gujarat incident, Singh said, Rahul had acted on the advice of his personal secretary and travelled in a private Toyota Fortuner car ignoring the exhortation of the SPG personnel on using the bullet-resistant car.

“I congratulate the SPG, which asked its trained driver to drive the Fortuner,” Singh said accusing the Congress vice president of violating security protocols and stopping at places where there was no pre-scheduled programme.

In June, Rahul was away for a fortnight to meet his grandmother and family. In March, he had visited the US where his mother had gone for health check-up. In 2015, Rahul had taken off for two-month holiday during which he toured countries in the far east without security cover.

The BJP has always used Rahul’s foreign visits to score brownie points and Singh did not miss the opportunity on Tuesday. “The Gujarat Chief Minister also visited the area, there were no protests. The Congress has to introspect, he (Rahul) was there on disaster tourism,” Singh said prompting loud protests from the Congress benches.

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