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India

Updated on: Thursday, January 06, 2022, 08:40 AM IST

PM Modi cancels Punjab rally after protestors block road, BJP in fumes

PM Modi cancels Punjab rally after protestors block road, BJP in fumes |

PM Modi cancels Punjab rally after protestors block road, BJP in fumes |

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New Delhi/Chandigarh: In an unsavoury episode, PM Modi returned on Wednesday without addressing a rally in Punjab after his convoy got stuck for 15-20 minutes in a road blockade near Hussainiwala.

The home ministry described the incident as a “major lapse” in his security; it has asked the Punjab government to fix responsibility for the serious lapse and take strict action.

According to a ministry statement, the prime minister landed in the morning at Bathinda from where he was to proceed to Hussainiwala by helicopter. Due to rain and poor visibility, the prime minister waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear.

"When the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the national martyrs' memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. He proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police," the statement said.

Around 30 km away from the national martyrs’ memorial, when Modi's convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road had been blocked by some protestors.

BJP president J P Nadda accused the Congress government in Punjab of trying "all possible tricks to scuttle" PM Modi's programmes the state.

"Protestors were given access to the Prime Minister's route while the Punjab CS (chief secretary) and DGP gave assurances to the SPG that the route is clear.

"'To make matters worse, Chief Minister Channi refused to come on the phone to either address the matter or solve it. The tactics used by the Congress government in Punjab would pain anyone who believes in democratic principles," Nadda said in a tweet.

Calling it a massive breach, the Centre said that the SPG is responsible for proximate security but overall security must be ensured by the state police. “The farmers’ intention to protest was made clear a few days ago. It didn’t come as a surprise. Yet no step was taken to sanitise the route that PM was to take as is the protocol," it added.

Government sources told News 18, “What was witnessed on the flyover was a surprising scene of connivance between the Punjab police and so called protestors. Only Punjab police knew the precise route of the Prime Minister. Never has such police behaviour been witnessed. This is the single biggest lapse in security of any Indian Prime Minister in recent years." The sources further said, “Normally during a PM’s visit to any state, the Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and DGP are there to receive the PM and accompany him. Today neither of the three were there. In fact, cars reserved for the Chief Secretary and the DGP were part of the PM’s cavalcade. Did the top officers of the state have an inkling of what was going to happen and hence decided to skip?"

Reacting to the allegations, CM Channi told News18, “There was no security lapse. PM Modi had a plan to arrive by air but came by road without informing us. I had requested protesters to clear the roads by 3 pm."

The chief minister further said, “They had 70,000 chairs at the rally venue but only 700 people came. So, they made rain an excuse, and the rally got cancelled."

The Union home ministry, however, maintained that the prime minister’s schedule was communicated well in advance to the Punjab government. “As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready. Also in view of the contingency plan, the state government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which were clearly not deployed. After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport," the ministry said.

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Published on: Thursday, January 06, 2022, 08:40 AM IST
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