BJP seeks apology from Rahul, Congress demands restoration of SPG cover for Gandhi family

The Pune unit of the BJP holds a protest at Shanipar Chowk on Saturday (Express Photo by Ashish Kale)

THE PUNE and Pimpri-Chinchwad units of the BJP staged protests on Saturday as part of the party’s nationwide plan, demanding an apology from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi over his comments on the Rafale deal, following the Supreme Court’s clean chit to the Union government in the matter. The Pune unit held a protest at Shanipar Chowk, headed by MP Girish Bapat, while the Pimpri-Chinchwad unit agitation took place at Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Square in Pimpri under the leadership of the party’s unit chief Laxman Jagtap.

The apex court on Thursday dismissed a review petition seeking a court-monitored criminal probe into the Rafale deal between the Indian government and French company Dassault Aviation.

“All accusations made by the former president of the Congress Rahul Gandhi have been proven wrong. The SC has overturned the attempts by Gandhi to spoil Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s image. He should publicly apologise to the citizens and PM Modi,” Jagtap said.

Members of Youth Congress stage a protest. (Express Photo by Ashish Kale)

Meanwhile, the Youth Congress on Saturday organised a statewide agitation against the “vendetta politics” of the government, demanding SPG protection to be immediately given back to the Gandhi family.

“The SPG was formed in 1984 after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. After the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991, the Special Protection Group (SPG) was further upgraded and was entrusted with the security of the Prime Minister, former prime ministers and their families,” said Youth Congress chief Satyajeet Tambe.

“The SPG was also providing security to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. Withdrawing SPG cover shows that the Modi government is carrying out unprecedented political vendetta blinded by personal hatred,” Tambe said.

Tambe said the Congress held statewide protests across the districts and demanded SPG protection be restored to members of the Gandhi family.

A large number of Youth Congress members and office-bearers took part in these protests against the government in their districts, Tambe added.

Pimpri-Chinchwad Youth Congress chief Narendra Bansode said the Pimpri unit held protests in Pimpri Chowk. Activist-advocate Asim Sarode was also present at the protest. Sarode said, “The Gandhi family should not be looked at from a political angle. The removal of SPG security is certainly not the right step.”

State Congress general secretary Prithviraj Sathe said, “The Modi government is practising vendetta politics. The removal of security to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is part of their narrow-minded politics.”