The Centre has upped BJP president Amit Shah’s personal security ahead of his campaigns in the run-up to Assembly polls in Gujarat. A Z Plus protectee, Shah will now be guarded by a special protocol known as advance security liaison (ASL).
Shah arrived in Ahmedabad on Friday evening and is expected to attend scores of meetings with party workers in the city as well as in Gandhidham and Bhavnagar till Saturday night. Shah’s marathon poll campaign will also begin on Saturday. A Home Ministry official said, “Shah is a Z Plus protectee, and such security cover includes ASL. But it is not followed everywhere. Based on assessment by the Intelligence Bureau, the Centre has specified that Shah needs ASL protection due to the ongoing election campaigns.”
ASL means that there will be coordinated efforts between the IB and local police, who will sanitise all venues prior to Shah’s visit. Gujarat Police officials said on Friday that they were not aware of the upgradation of Shah’s security, but they had received a message about his visit much in advance like those of the Prime Minister, President and Congress vice-president among others. They said this was the first time they had received information about Shah’s movement in advance.
After reaching his home in Thaltej, Shah is scheduled to fly to Gandhidham on Saturday morning where he will meet party workers before flying to Bhavnagar. BJP officials said Shah would interact with in-charge of “Shakti Kendra” along with mandal and district office-bearers. In Ahmedabad in the evening, the BJP chief will address a gathering of about 1,600 party workers who have been given election duty at the booth level.
Party officials said Shah will tour 31 districts in the coming weeks to interact with workers and sense the mood. Police sources said they have not got his complete schedule. Shah was given Z plus security in 2014. At present, about 10 CRPF commandos and five State Reserve Police personnel guard him.
Sources said Shah’s security may have been upped due to incidents like disruption of his public meeting by PAAS members in Surat and Karamsad and threat perception ahead of his marathon campaign.