Two former CMs, a former Governor, two serving Union ministers and the Maharashtra BJP president were among those whose security cover was either withdrawn or downgraded by Maharashtra government on Sunday, inviting criticism from the Opposition.
While the security cover of CM Uddhav Thackeray’s predecessor and current Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis was downgraded, the ‘Y+’ cover enjoyed by former CM Narayan Rane was withdrawn following a threat perception review exercise carried out by state Home department.
As per the government order, Fadnavis, who was earlier enjoying ‘Z+’ security, will now be getting only ‘Y+’ security with an escort. Sources said that a bullet proof vehicle that was a part of his convoy will now be withdrawn.
The government also downgraded the security extended to his wife, Amruta, and daughter, Divija, from ‘Y+’ category to ‘X’ category while striking off the one previously enjoyed by his aunt, Shobhatai Fadnavis — a former minister and a sitting MLC.
The government newly granted ‘X’ category security cover to Shiv Sena MLA Vaibhav Naik, who defeated Rane in the 2014 Assembly polls. It also downgraded the security cover of the CM’s cousin and MNS chief Raj Thackeray from ‘Z’ category to ‘Y+’ with an escort.
The security detail of BJP leaders — including Union Minister Raosaheb Danve, state BJP president Chandrakant Patil, former Assembly Speaker Haribhau Bagade, former state finance minister Sudhir Mungantiwar, former social justice minister Rajkumar Badole as well as legislators Ram Kadam and Prasad Lad — has been withdrawn.
BJP’s Praveen Darekar, Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Council, was newly assigned ‘X’ category security.
BJP leader Ram Kadam, whose security cover was withdrawn, said, “This is revenge politics.” Fadnavis said, “I never demanded security even as party chief, it was only as CM, when there were threats, I was given security. This won’t affect my movement at all. We are not the kind of leaders who depend on security, we work among the people.”
State Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said the downgrading was as per a routine threat perception review. He said NCP chief Sharad Pawar had called him, offering a downgrade in his security cover. “Pawar is a national leader, has been a Union minister but he barely any security in the last four years. Even Ajit Pawar had no escort.”
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