While Congress and Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi continue to assert that there was no security breach involving Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cavalcade on the Ludhiana-Ferozepur highway earlier this week some of the leaders said the party should have taken a “more nuanced” approach. standing up” rather than joining a political war of words with the BJP over such a sensitive issue.
Although these leaders believe that the Prime Minister, the Center and the BJP blew “the issue out of proportion”, they believe there was also an element of “casualty” on the part of the Punjab government, which does not can be “neglected”. In this context, they argue that the party should have adopted a “much more mature approach”.
There are clearly two schools of thought on the issue in Congress.
A mainstream section of the party still believes the prime minister cannot be allowed to create and dominate the narrative and must be aggressively countered at every step.
Sources said Congress Speaker Sonia Gandhi’s directive to the chief minister to set up an investigation while letting the party aggressively counter the BJP, describing the ruling party’s shooting as an attack on “Punjab and Punjabiyat,” was perhaps part of this calibrated approach.
Neither Sonia nor former Congress President Rahul Gandhi have spoken on the matter so far.
“Any other prime minister would focus on serious national security shortcomings in Pangong Tso and Arunachal Pradesh. But for the first time in 70 years, a Prime Minister is worried about the security threat posed by the workers of his own party? tweeted the leader of the opposition to Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge.
His party colleague and spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi, on the other hand, told the Indian Express that “the three major stakeholders – the Prime Minister’s Office, the Center and the State Government – must rise above politics to genuinely address omissions and shortcomings, if any, that may lie at all quarters”.
Punjab Congressman Manish Tewari, who had called for an investigation by a sitting High Court judge, saying what happened in Ferozepur was “unfortunate”, said: “If there has been a security breach in terms of what was ostensibly articulated by Minister when he returned to Bathinda airport or what is said officially by the Home Office, this warrants an independent investigation.
“Now that the Supreme Court is seized with the case, we will have to wait and see what the court decides,” he said. While Congress insists there was no security breach, Tewari said “now the courts will determine.”
One leader, who did not want to be identified, said it was a fact that the state police had been “casual” and “there was no less slippage from the Center or of the Ministry of the Interior”. The leader said the party’s argument that the prime minister returned because there were few turnouts at the rally “got us on the wrong foot”.
Senior Congressman Harish Rawat said the prime minister’s security is a collective responsibility of central agencies like the SPG and the state police. “When there was a change in the Prime Minister’s schedule and when he decided to hit the road, the course should have been sanitized.
And given the situation resulting from the farmers’ protest and the warning they had given…it should have been reconfirmed that there was no possibility of anyone blocking the road. It didn’t happen,” he said.
At the same time, he argued that if the Prime Minister’s cavalcade had waited half an hour longer, such a situation could have been avoided.
Tewari said when the prime minister or any senior dignitary travels to a border area, security levels must be higher.