New Delhi: Politicians making a beeline for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suddenly feel threatened and are provided security by the Central government soon after they join the party. In the latest such instance, Punjab politician Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, who joined the BJP a few days ago, has been granted Z category security cover by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), official sources said on Wednesday.
Sodhi has been accorded VIP security cover of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The 67-year-old politician has been an MLA in Punjab for the last four terms and is considered close to former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. He joined the BJP on December 21 at the party’s headquarters in Delhi. The politician will have a contingent of six-eight commandos travelling with him, it is learnt.
Delhi politician Manjinder Singh Sirsa, till recently with the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), who joined the BJP on December 1, has also been given “Z” category security cover by the MHA. Sirsa, former president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee and former president of the Delhi unit of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) earlier had “Y plus” security. His security cover has been upgraded to the “Z” category and he will be protected by both the Delhi Police and the CRPF.
A few years ago in 2017, Mukul Roy, the All India Trinamool Congress leader, had jumped ship to the BJP. He, too, was provided with a Z category security cover after joining the BJP as he had claimed that he faced threat in the TMC-ruled West Bengal. Roy, however, quit the BJP in June 2021 and returned to his original party.
After rejoining the TMC, Roy wrote to the Union Home Ministry seeking withdrawal of his ‘Z’ category security. He was provided with Y plus security by the CRPF soon after he joined BJP in 2017 which was later upgraded to Z category.
Veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty, too, has benefitted from joining the BJP. Days after his induction into the BJP, the Centre accorded Y+ VIP security cover to him. As per sources, the decision was taken in the light of the attacks against BJP workers and political leaders such as BJP National President JP Nadda and others in West Bengal during the state elections in mid 2021.
Back in 2020, Former TMC minister Suvendu Adhikari got ‘Z’ category CRPF security cover in Bengal and ‘Y +’ category CRPF security cover in other states. Suvendu Adhikari, 50, was secured by armed commandos of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) whenever he moved in West Bengal. Under the ‘Z’ category, Mr. Adhikari was provided a mobile team of about 6-7 armed CRPF commandos and a pilot and escort vehicle.
The police, Special Protection Group (SPG), NSG, and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) provide security details to high-risk individuals in India. Depending on the threat perception to the individual, the category is divided into five tiers: Z-plus, Z, Y-plus, Y and X.
The CRPF protects as many as 76 personalities under its VIP security cover including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the first family of the Congress party, its president Sonia Gandhi and her children Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi, among others.