New Delhi, Dec 3 (PTI) The Congress hit out at the government on Tuesday over the security breach at party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's residence here, alleging that the incident showed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah had put the lives of its leaders at risk.
The opposition party also said it wanted to protest inside Parliament over the issue as the home minister had told the Lok Sabha that adequate security would be provided to the Gandhi family, despite the withdrawal of the SPG (Special Protection Group) cover.
Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury alleged that they wanted to protest, but all 'dissenting' voices were being 'throttled'.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary (organisation) K C Venugopal said the government should not put someone's life in danger for 'settling cheap political scores'.
'The massive security breach at the residence of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra proves that with the withdrawal of SPG protection, Modi and Shah together have put the lives of our leaders at risk,' he said in a tweet.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Chowdhury said Shah had told the House that the government would make adequate arrangements for the security of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
'He (Shah) had said the security cover will not be less than the SPG cover and if need be, it will be more than that. So, even after the assurance by the home minister inside the House, if some security lapses happen at her (Priyanka Gandhi's) residence, we will protest.
'We are ready to protest against them (government), but will not be allowed to speak. They want that not just outside, but dissenting voices are throttled even inside the House. Industrialists cannot say anything, RBI governor cannot say anything, if opposition leaders protest, they will have to go to jail and now, even inside Parliament if we say something, we are being throttled,' he said.
Earlier, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's husband Robert Vadra described the incident of unidentified people driving up to the porch of their home last week as a 'very big' security lapse and alleged that the removal of the Gandhi family's SPG cover was a 'political' move.
The office of Priyanka Gandhi, a Congress general secretary, has taken up the issue of the November 26 security breach with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
A car drove right up to the porch near the garden at Priyanka Gandhi's Lodhi Estate residence and three men, three women and a girl came out of it, sources said. They walked up to the Congress leader and asked for photos to be taken with her.
She spoke with them nicely, they took pictures with her and left, the sources said.
The Centre last month replaced the SPG cover of the family of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, assassinated by LTTE terrorists on May 21, 1991, with 'Z-plus' security provided by the CRPF.
Under 'Z-plus' security, they are being protected by CRPF commandos in close proximity, besides guards at their homes and wherever they travel in the country.
To reporters' queries on the removal of the SPG cover, Priyanka Gandhi had earlier said, 'It's part of politics and this keeps happening.' The Gandhis are without SPG protection after 28 years. They were included in the VVIP security list following an amendment in the SPG Act of 1988 in September, 1991.
On November 27, the Lok Sabha passed a bill to amend the SPG Act.
According to the amendment, the SPG will now protect the prime minister and members of his immediate family residing with him at his official residence.
It will also provide security to former prime ministers and their immediate family members staying with them at the residence allotted for a period of five years from the date on which they cease to hold office. PTI ASK RC