Maharashtra rejigs VVIP security, Pawar wants less protection, BJP feels ‘insecure’

Following a meeting to security review and threat perceptions held on Friday, the state government issued the revised orders on Sunday on the levels of protection that would be accorded to various personalities.
Sharad Pawar
Sharad Pawar at Parliament

Mumbai, Jan 10 : After the annual review of state VVIP security, Maharashtra’s Maha Vikas Aghadi government on Sunday enhanced protection cover to a few, and reduced or withdrew it for many, even as senior leader Sharad Pawar sought reduction of his security.

From the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the security cover of several leaders including Leaders of Opposition (Assembly) Devendra Fadnavis and (Council) Pravin Darekar has been reduced while for others including state BJP President Chandrakant Patil, it has been withdrawn.

As the BJP cried foul, Nationalist Congress Party President Pawar requested Home Minister Anil Deshmukh to reduce his security cover.

Ex-minister and senior BJP leader Sudhir Mungantiwar – who lost his security – took a swipe at the MVA, saying: “I was given security because I come from a Maoist-hit district. It has been withdrawn, so it appears that Maoist activities over. But the (government) must ensure security for the common masses.”

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant questioned why the BJP leaders should shout and scream if their security cover is reduced or removed, considering the reduced threat perceptions to them.

“Although the Gandhi family and ex-Prime Minister Manmohan Singh face threats, the BJP acted vindictively and reduced their security after which the BJP people had rejoiced. But the MVA government doesn’t hold such an attitude,” he said.

Deshmukh and other leaders pointed out how, soon after coming to power in late 2014, Fadnavis had also reduced the secuirty for several leaders including Pawar and former Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.

Following a meeting to security review and threat perceptions held on Friday, the state government issued the revised orders on Sunday on the levels of protection that would be accorded to various personalities.

Celeb criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam has got an enhanced cover from Y-Plus with escort to Z, while Bollywood actor Shatrughan Sinha’s cover has been increased from Y-Plus to Y-Plus with escort.

In the list for the newcomers to be given security, the personalities are: Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar (Y-Plus with escort), and Congress Minister Vijay Wadettiwar (Y-Plus with escort in Mumbai).

Ministers Sandipan A. Bhumre, Abdul Nabi Sattar, Dilip Walse-Patil and Sunil Kedar have been given Y-level security and Shiv Sena MLA Vaibhav V. Naik from Kankavali in Sindhudurg gets X-level security.

Fadnavis’s protection has been slashed from Z-Plus to Y-Plus with escort, his wife Amruta’s reduced from Y-Plus with escort to X and their daughter Divija Fadnavis’ from Y-Plus with escort to to X, while the security of Shobha Fadnavis, the aunt of Devendra Fadnavis, has been removed.

Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray goes from Z to Y-Plus with escort, retired Justice M.L. Tahiliyani Z to Y, Union Minister of State for Social Justice Ramdas Athawale from Y-Plus with escort to Y-Plus, and Mumbai blasts trial Judge G.A. Sanap from Z to Y.

Former Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik’s cover has come down from Y-Plus to Y, while ex-ministers Deepak Kesarkar and Ashish Shelar hes been reduced from Y-Plus to Y, and Suryakant Shinde from Y-Plus to X level.

Darekar and former deputy Speaker Narhari Zirwal both will get Y-level cover and those accorded X-level cover include Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar’s wife Sunetra, ex-MLAs Prakash Shendge and Rajesh Kshirsagar, besides Yuva Sena Secretary Varun Sardesai.

In the list of those who lost their security cover are: Ambrishrao Atram (till now, Z-Naxal), state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and Sanjay Bansode (both Y-Plus with escort till now), Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, ex-CM Narayan Rane, ex-minister Mungantiwar and R. V. More (all Y-Plus till now), Rajkumar Badole and ex-Speaker Haribhau Bagade (both Y till date).

Others who have lost their X-level security henceforth are BJP spokespersons Madhav Bhandari, Ram Kadam and Prasad Laad, ex-Congress MLA-MP Marotrao S. Kowase, VHP leader Shankar Gaikar, and ex-Congress minister Kripa Shankar Singh.

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