- Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Ferozepur in poll-bound Punjab on Wednesday
- In Ferozepur, PM Modi was scheduled to attend several events and to address an election rally
- DIGP (Ferozepur) Inderbir Singh said around 100 farmers suddenly blocked PM Modi's convoy
Day after the serious security breach in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's security, a six-member delegation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by its Punjab unit president Ashwani Sharma on Thursday met the state's Governor Banwarilal Purohit. Briefing the media post the meeting with Governor, Punjab BJP President Ashwani Sharma today said the delegation requested the governor to suspend the state's home minister and DGP.
"I have requested the Governor to suspend the Home Minister and DGP of Punjab. The protocols were not followed to receive the PM," Sharma told reporters.
"Who leaked the Prime Minister's route?" he further asked.
PM's convoy stranded on flyover: What happened in Punjab
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was scheduled to visit Ferozepur in poll-bound Punjab on Wednesday, however, his convoy was stranded on a flyover due to a blockade by protesters. Modi, who landed in Bathinda, had to take the road route to the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala in Ferozepurb because of inclement weather.
When the convoy reached near village Piareana on Ferozepur-Moga road, around 30 km away from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, some protestors blocked the road following which the PM's cavalcade was halted for almost 15-20 minutes on a flyover.
Deputy Inspector General of Police (Ferozepur) Inderbir Singh said around 100 farmers suddenly arrived on the spot and blocked the road.
A decision was taken to take the prime minister's convoy back to Bathinda airport after protestors started gathering on the other side of the flyover which could pose a huge security risk, he said.
Protesting farmers had blocked roads at several other places including Tarn Taran, Faridkot and Amritsar.
The prime minister was scheduled to visit the national martyrs' memorial and address the rally in Ferozepur. He was also scheduled to lay the foundation stones of development projects worth over Rs 42,750 crore, including the Delhi-Amritsar-Katra expressway and a PGIMER satellite centre. The projects also included four-laning of the Amritsar-Una section, Mukerian-Talwara broad gauge railway line and two new medical colleges at Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur.
PM Modi security lapse in Punjab: What the Home Ministry said
The Union Home Ministry directed the state government to file an immediate report, saying it did not ensure the required deployment. In a statement, the home ministry said that in view of the contingency plan the Punjab government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which was clearly not deployed.
"After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport," the statement said.
The ministry also asked the Punjab government to fix responsibility for the lapse and take strict action, the statement said.
Political row erupts
The incident triggered a major political row as the BJP alleged the ruling Congress in Punjab "tried to physically harm" the prime minister, while other parties too attacked the state government over the law and order issue. Home Minister Amit Shah said that such dereliction of the security procedure during the prime minister's visit is totally unacceptable and accountability will be fixed.
On the defensive, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi at a press conference denied there was any security lapse or political motive behind it and said his government was ready for an inquiry.
In Delhi, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala hit back at the BJP, claiming Prime Minister Modi skipped the rally in Ferozepur as there were no crowds and asked the saffron party to introspect.
Channi too claimed that the turnout was low at the Ferozepur rally.
Channi claimed that there was a sudden change in Modi's programme and he was scheduled to take a chopper to his destination.
"We respect our Prime Minister," Chani said and added "there was no security lapse of any kind and there was no situation of any attack. There was a sudden change in PM's travel plan from Bathinda to Ferozepur. BJP should not politicise the issue".
BJP president JP Nadda alleged Channi refused to get on the phone to address the matter.
"The tactics used by the Congress government in Punjab would pain anyone who believes in democratic principles," Nadda said in a tweet.
Former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, who has joined hands with the BJP, too hit out at the Congress government and batted for the imposition of President's rule, while Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal alleged there is a complete collapse of law and order in Punjab.
"If we have to keep our state safe and keep law and order here, then I think President's rule should be imposed," Singh, who formed his Punjab Lok Congress after parting ways with the Congress, told media after addressing a rally in Ferozepur, where Modi too was scheduled to speak.
"We are 10 km away from the border in Pakistan, where a function was kept (in Ferozepur). If you cannot ensure PM's security, what can you do? We need a strong government," he said.