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Maharashtra government downgrades security of ex-CM Fadnavis, Raj Thackeray

Devendra Fadnavis. File   | Photo Credit: Vivek Bendre

The Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government has downgraded the security of a number of prominent opposition leaders in Maharashtra including BJP Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Devendra Fadnavis and his family, former Uttar Pradesh governor Ram Naik and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray.

 

It has also withdrawn the security cover of BJP State president Chandrakant Patil.

 

BJP’s leaders, have condemned the decision and dubbed it ‘vendetta politics’.

 

According to a government notification issued on January 8, Mr. Fadnavis will now get a ‘Y-plus security with escort’ instead of his earlier ‘Z-plus’ cover, which included a bulletproof vehicle. The security of his wife Amruta Fadnavis, and his daughter, has been downgraded from ‘Y-plus with escort’ to the lesser ‘X’ category.

 

“I have no worries…I have full support of the public of Maharashtra, and being a people’s person, this move will have no impact on my travels to meet people and gauge their problems,” said Mr. Fadnavis.

 

Likewise, security cover for MNS chief Raj Thackeray (also Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s cousin) was downgraded from ‘Z’ to ‘Y plus with escort’.

 

Besides Mr. Patil, the security detail of BJP leader and former Chief Minister Narayan Rane, former minister Sudhir Mungantiwar and senior leader and spokesperson Madhav Bhandari have been withdrawn while that of former Minister Ashish Shelar downgraded. Mr. Rane had a ‘Y-plus’ category security. Former minister Rajkumar Badole, BJP MLAs Prasad Lad and Ram Kadam, and former speaker and BJP legislator Haribhau Bagde have also lost their security cover.

MNS Leader Raj Thackeray. File

MNS Leader Raj Thackeray. File   | Photo Credit: Vijay Bate

“I have no complaints, but should anything ominous happen to any of us, then the Thackeray government will be responsible for it,” complained an irate Mr. Rane, a former Shiv Sainik and a bitter critic of Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

 

The security of State Lokayukta M.L. Tahiliani has been downgraded from ‘Z’ to ‘Y’ while those of Republican Party of India (A) chief Ramdas Athawale, a BJP ally, and that of Central Minister Raosaheb Danve have been downgraded as well.

 

“This politics of malice will have no impact on former chief minister Fadnavis and other BJP leaders who will continue to highlight the problems of the people… This decision merely reflects the mindset of the Thackeray government. During the pandemic, it was Mr. Fadnavis who was travelling to every nook and corner of the State while Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray was sitting at home,” said State BJP spokesman Keshav Upadhye. He added that Mr. Fadnavis was the first politician to reach Bhandara where ten babies died in a hospital fire on Saturday.

 

While the State government has upgraded the security of two persons, downgraded those of 11, withdrawn the cover of 16 more, 13 persons have been added to the list of those provided official cover.

 

Prominent among them are Sunetra Pawar, wife of Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, and Varun Sardesai, the secretary of the Yuva Sena and nephew of Mr. Thackeray's wife, Rashmi Thackeray. Both have been given an ‘X’category security cover.

 

Senior advocate Ujjwal Nikam's ‘Y-plus with escort’ cover has been upgraded to ‘Z’, while film actor and ex-BJP-turned Congress leader Shatrughan Sinha’s ‘Y-plus’ cover has been upgraded to ‘Y-plus with escort’.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 11:28:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-government-downgrades-security-of-ex-cm-fadnavis-raj-thackeray/article33542970.ece

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