Rajya Sabha passes SPG (Amendment) Bill as Congress walks out over lapse in security at Priyanka's home; BJP demands Adhir's apology over 'Nirbala' jibe

  • Heated discussions and protests on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill constituted the highlight of proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday

  • The Bill was subsequently passed in the Upper House, with home minister Amit Shah saying that security for the Gandhi family cannot be a "status symbol"

  • Incidents of terrorist violence declined after 5 August, Ministry of Home Affairs submitted in the Lok Sabha

Heated discussions and protests on the Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill constituted the highlight of proceedings in Parliament on Tuesday. The Bill was subsequently passed in the Upper House, with home minister Amit Shah saying that security for the Gandhi family cannot be a "status symbol."

For the second time in as many days, the BJP hit out at the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for his controversial comments. On Tuesday, the party protested Chowdhury reference to finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman as 'nirbala' (weak). On Monday, BJP members had objected to Chowdhury's remarks terming Narendra Modi and Amit Shah as "migrants and infiltrators".

SPG (Amendment) Bill passed in RS

The Special Protection Group (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. The Bill had been passed with a voice vote in the Lok Sabha on 27 November.

According to a statement from the home ministry, the "family members of a former prime minister who reside with him at his allotted accommodation will get security cover of the SPG only for five years, from the date he/she ceases to hold the office of Prime Minister."

 Rajya Sabha passes SPG (Amendment) Bill as Congress walks out over lapse in security at Priyankas home; BJP demands Adhirs apology over Nirbala jibe

Home minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha during the ongoing Winter Session of Parliament. PTI

The Bill was moved by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in the Upper House of Parliament. The Congress party, however, staged a walk-out after Shah's reply on the Bill.

Speaking on the Bill, Home Minister Shah said that the amendment to the Bill was not brought only keeping in mind the SPG security provided to the Gandhi family and asserted that the SPG security is only for the head of the state. He also said that SPG security from the Gandhis was withdrawn after the threat assessment analysis even before the introduction of this Bill.

"This is the 5th amendment in the SPG Act. This amendment was not brought in by keeping the Gandhis in mind, but, one thing that I can say for sure is that the previous four amendments were done by keeping only one family in mind," he continued.

Asserting that the SPG security cannot be given to everyone, he said: "Security cannot be made a status symbol. Why is there a demand only for SPG cover? The SPG cover is meant only for the head of the State. We cannot be giving it to everyone. We don't oppose one family. We are against dynastic politics."

On the other hand, the Congress' Vivek Tankha expressed dismay that politics has "reached such a level that the security of leaders is being compromised." Tankha cited the assassination of Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and noted that Indira's demise had led to the introduction of the SPG Act.

In a similar vein, the DMK's P Wilson said that the bill targets one party and ignores the assassinations of Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi.​ "Rajiv Gandhi’s SPG cover was revoked after he demitted the prime minister's office, and then he was assassinated," he reminded the Rajya Sabha.

Subsequently, the Congress staged a walkout, after which the Bill was passed in the Upper House.

BJP objects to Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury's 'Nirbala' jibe

The BJP's Poonam Mahajan mounted a fresh attack on Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury for his remarks on the finance minister, saying it is he and not Nirmala Sitharaman who is "weak". Participating in the discussion on Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, Chowdhury had on Monday suggested that the finance minister has become weak and called her 'Nirbala'.

As BJP members protested against his comment, Speaker Om Birla had ruled that any unparliamentary remark would be removed from records. During Zero Hour, when Chowdhury rose to speak on onion prices, Poonam Mahajan (BJP) remarked, "You are nirbal (weak) as you stand for one family. You are weak as you call the prime minister an infiltrator," she said amid noisy protests by BJP members.

The treasury benches also asked Chowdhury to apologise for his remarks.

During her reply on Monday, Sitharaman did not directly refer to Chowdhury's comment but concluded her speech by saying she still is Nirmala and "sabla" (empowered).

Terrorism in Kashmir declined after Article 370 abrogation: MHA

Incidents of terrorist violence declined after 5 August, Ministry of Home Affairs submitted in Lok Sabha in reply to a question on infiltration and attacks after Article 370 abrogation in Jammu and Kashmir. “Incidents of terrorist violence declined after 5 August. From 5 August 2019 till 27 November, there have been 88 such incidents as compared to 106 such incidents from 12 April till 4 August,” the reply stated.

There has been increase in the number of infiltration attempts from across the border, the home ministry replied. “From 5 August till 31 October, there have been 84 such attempts as against 53 such attempts from 9 May till 4 August,” the ministry said.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Dec 03, 2019 20:26:02 IST