President expresses concern over Modi's security breach; CCS interferes
President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday voiced his displeasure at an alleged breach of security during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Punjab. Modi provided the President an 'up-close' account of the security violation, the Rashtrapati Bhavan (President's House) said. The topic was also discussed at a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), sources told Hindustan Times.
Why does it matter?
- Modi was supposed to attend a rally in Punjab on Wednesday, but it was apparently canceled due to a roadblock by farmers protesting the PM's visit.
- The incident has ignited a feud between the ruling Congress party of Punjab and Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); both parties blaming each other.
- The incident happened just a few months ahead of the highly-tensed Punjab assembly elections.
Punjab orders lead high-level probe
The Punjab government on Thursday constituted a high-level committee to look into the security breach. Principal Secretary (Home Affairs), Justice (Retired) Mehtab Singh Gill, and Justice Anurag Verma would make up the committee, said an official spokesperson. The committee is expected to submit its report within three days. Punjab BJP, however, decried the panel, saying that the CM is the "ringleader of the conspiracy."
What happened on Wednesday?
Modi was supposed to speak at a rally in Ferozepur and lay the foundation stone for a number of development programs. He was on his way to a memorial in Hussainiwala after landing at Bathinda airport and had to take the road route due to bad weather. The PM's convoy was stuck for 15-20 minutes on a flyover as protesters blocked the way.
BJP accuses Punjab's Congress government
"Today's Congress-made happening in Punjab is a trailer of how this party thinks and functions," tweeted Union Home Minister Amit Shah. Union Minister Smriti Irani said the Congress hates Modi explicitly blaming the party for "trying to harm" the PM. "The Congress government of Punjab conspired to stop the prime minister on the road," Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat added.
Punjab denies Modi government, BJP's allegations
The charges of a security breach are false, according to Punjab minister Raj Kumar Verka. "The rally flopped as BJP leaders failed to attract crowds," he said. Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi stated "no security lapse," echoing Verka's comments. However, police officials and protesters reportedly indicated holes in claims made by the Punjab government.