The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government on Sunday announced to scale down the security cover of several political leaders including former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, MNS leader Raj Thackeray and Union Minister Ramdas Athawale. The decision was taken after a review of the security cover provided to the political leaders in Maharashtra. ALSO READ | Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar Cancels Farmers’ Meet After Protesters Vandalise Venue
As per the government notification issued on January 8, former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis will now get ‘Y-plus security with escort’, instead of the ‘Z-plus’ cover. A bullet-proof vehicle in his security convoy will be withdrawn. The security of his wife Amruta Fadnavis and daughter Divija has been downgraded from ‘Y-plus with escort’ to ‘X’ category.
Besides Fadnavis, security cover of MNS chief Raj Thackeray, former CM Narayan Rane, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and senior party leader Sudhir Mungantiwar have been withdrawn.
Slamming the move, BJP MLA and spokesperson Ram Kadam alleged that the government is trying to silence voices. “In spite of senior police officials being in favour of the security cover, what is the reason behind reducing the security cover of BJP leaders? The government is trying to silence our voices…Our leaders have exposed the government’s failures on several fronts. But they cannot muzzle our voices like this, we will continue to expose them,” Kadam said.
State BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhye also opposed the move and termed it as “vendetta politics”, while former chief minister Fadnavis said this would not impact his plans to travel and meet people.
According to sources, the ‘Z-plus’ security comprises a bullet-proof car, a police inspector, two assistant police inspectors, two police sub-inspectors, two escort vehicles with six constables in each, and 10 other constables at any given point of time, while the ‘Z’ category has a security cover of 22 personnel.