Calcutta: The leader of the Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, on Wednesday questioned the scale of security put in place for Trinamul Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee for his ongoing mass outreach programme in East Midnapore district and said the protection for the Prime Minister would pale in comparison.
Abhishek, who is touring East Midnapore as part of the party’s mass outreach programme Trinamuley Nabo Jowar, held road shows in the district on Wednesday. The biggest road show was in Contai, believed to be Adhikari’s home turf.
“Check out the Bhaipo Protection Group. 2245 Police Personnel deployed in a single day (today) to protect just 1 person - Hon’ble Nephew of CM & HM @MamataOfficial,” Adhikari tweeted during the day drawing parallels with the Special Protection Group (SPG) covering India’s Prime Minister.
The BJP leader said the scale of security for Abhishek came against the backdrop of the state’s deteriorating law and order when many lives were lost in explosions and murders and there were “several instances of atrocities on women”.
“The Police Stations of South Bengal are almost empty, with policemen guarding the streets for one individual, as he is out on a political tour. The Home Department of WB isn’t just bothered about the common people. Their priority is just 1 individual.
Ultimately the people of WB are just like sitting ducks, with no protection, waiting for something bad to happen,” Adhikari tweeted.
Adhikari appended in his tweet some pages from the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for police to follow while “covering” Abhishek during his trip in East Midnapore district to underscore his point about the excess in arrangements. The SOP lays down, among several things, specific preventive measures to be put in place during the visit of Trinamul’s national general secretary, considering that the threat of Covid-19 continued to loom at large.
Senior cops said the arrangements for the Diamond Harbour MP were in keeping with the protocols laid down for “covering” a Z-plus security protectee.
Abhishek is a Z-plus protectee in Bengal, along with chief minister Mamata Banerjee and governor C.V. Ananda Bose.
Trinamul contested Adhikari’s claim and said even BJP leaders, including Suvendu Adhikari, enjoyed similar security when they attend rallies.
“Suvendu is delirious. Abhishek does get a certain kind of security. But when a political leader is out at a rally and thousands of people are attending these events, it is the duty of the police to stay there to maintain law and order. The figures quoted by Suvendu are baseless,” said Kunal Ghosh, Trinamul spokesperson.
“When BJP leaders come for an event, local police are present at the spot. The same goes for Suvendu’s rallies as well. So what is the problem with Abhishek’s event? The problem is that people do not attend BJP’s rallies, but they are coming to meet Abhishek.”