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Former AAP leader Kumar Vishwas likely to get central security cover

Vishwas had recently said in an interview that during the 2017 elections, he warned Kejriwal not to go with “fringe elements”, separatists and forces associated with the Khalistani movement.

The move to give Kumar Vishwas central security cover comes days after Centre granted paramilitary protection to 25 BJP leaders from UP and Punjab for elections. (Express Photo by Amit Mehra)

Former Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Kumar Vishwas, who recently alleged that Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal supported Khalistani elements during the last Punjab elections, is likely to get central security cover.

“Vishwas’s security was being reviewed and a report has been sought from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in this regard,” sources in the government said on Friday.

Vishwas had recently told ANI that during the 2017 elections, he had warned Kejriwal not to go with “fringe elements”, separatists and forces associated with the Khalistani movement.

“But he (Kejriwal) said, nahin ho jayega (it will be done)… he told me, ‘ya toh main ek swantatra sube ka mukhyamantri banoonga ya swantantra desh ka pehla pradhan mantri’ (I’ll either be the chief minister of an independent state or be the first PM of an independent nation),” Vishwas had said.

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Following Vishwas’ statement, both the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress had accused Kejriwal of being hand-in-glove with separatist elements in Punjab.

On Friday, Kejriwal rubbished the charges and said that such allegations are being made against him by political rivals for the past several years and if they were true, the central agencies should have arrested him. “If one goes by their claims, that means I am a big terrorist. If one goes by their logic, then what were their agencies doing, why did they not arrest me?…” Kejriwal said in a press conference.

Punjab elections are scheduled to be held on February 20.

The move to give central security cover to Vishwas comes days after the Centre granted paramilitary protection to 25 BJP leaders from Uttar Pradesh and Punjab for elections.

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While BJP candidate against former state CM Akhilesh Yadav from Karhal constituency in UP’s Mainpuri, SPS Baghel, has been granted Z category security of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Delhi MP Hansraj Hans has been given the same protection for his travels in Punjab till elections are over. BJP MP from Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh, Ramesh Chand Bind, has been given X-category CISF cover till the elections.

Barring these three, all the other BJP leaders who have been given Y and Y-plus category security of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) till the elections are from Punjab, including Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s former aide Nimisha Mehta. Some of the prominent names on the list are: Avtar Singh Zira, Sardar Didar Singh Bhatti, Sardar Kanwar Veer Singh Tohra, Sardar Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, Sardar Hariot Kamal, Sukhvinder Singh Bindra and Parminder Singh Dhindsa.

Sources in the ministry said the security cover was given following Intelligence Bureau reports of threats to their lives during elections.

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According to sources, many of the leaders in Punjab who have been given security joined the BJP recently. “One of them even wrote to the Centre seeking central security cover, claiming a threat to his life,” said an official.

First published on: 18-02-2022 at 18:17 IST
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