Rajya Sabha passes SPG (Amendment) Bill; Congress, DMK, Left walk out

The SPG (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday (December 3) despite a walkout by Congress, DMK and Left MPs.

Rajya Sabha passes SPG (Amendment) Bill; Congress, DMK, Left walk out

The SPG (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday (December 3) as Congress, DMK and Left MPs staged walkout during the voting on the bill. Addressing the Rajya Sabha before the passage of the bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that there was no merits in the claim that the government was acting out of political vendetta and the changes to the SPG law were not aimed at targeting the Gandhi family.

"We are not opposing the parivaar (family), but parivaar-vaad (nepotism). India's democracy cannot run like this. Why talk of only the security of the Gandhi family? The security of 130 crore Indians including the Gandhi family is the government's responsibility," he said.

"Former Prime Ministers' SPG cover has also been withdrawn. Narsimha Rao, Chandrashekar, IK Gujral, Manmohan Singh are among former PMs whose SPG security cover has been withdrawn. In a democracy, the law is the same for everyone, not special for a family," said the Union Home Minister.

Shah stressed that this is the 5th amendment in the SPG Act and the previous four amendments were done keeping in mind Gandhi family. "This is the 5th amendment in the SPG Act. This amendment is not brought in by keeping Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous 4 amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind," Shah said in the Rajya Sabha.

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Talking about the alleged security breach at Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's residence on November 25, Shah told the Upper House that a probe has been ordered in this incident and three officers have been suspended. Shah, however, added that Priyanka should have approached him or the DG CRPF but the Congress decided to leak the matter to the media. "Should've come to me or to DG CRPF, why go to media?" Shah asked.

On November 8, the Ministry of Home Affairs had decided to withdraw the SPG cover given to the Gandhi family, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi, and give them 'Z Plus' security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The decision was taken at a high-level meeting of the MHA after threat assessment to the Gandhi family was done from different agencies. According to the intelligence bureau, there is no direct threat to the Gandhi family.

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