While highlighting that damaged roads increase the probability of attacks on BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s convoy, the Gujarat police has asked the Centre to send out advisories to states indicating that speed of the cavalcade on such roads comes down to 20 km/hr. Fearing that the problem of bad roads may get snowballed into a slug-fest between state and Centre, the government has asked the security agencies to get the stretches repaired.
Chief secretaries have been alerted regarding state highways and the Centre has asked the authorities to take necessary actions for national highways. Intelligence alerts have also sounded that Modi’s security needs to be given priority as there is a very high degree of threat to him following the recent arrests of Indian Mujahideen (IM) and SIMI operatives. Learning from the recent revelations by arrested terror operatives, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has asked all the NSG protectees and national-level leaders to be given a mandatory advanced security liaison (ASL).
The Centre, however, has already ruled out giving SPG cover to Modi as it will require amendment in the SPG act. According to MHA, the activities of national political leaders like Narendra Modi, L K Advani and Rajnath Singh will increase in the wake of upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. “It has therefore been decided to give ASL to all the political leaders. This will mean that the security agencies will require to carry out a drill including sanitizing the route, venue and vehicles before the visit of the politician. In many states, there are also complaints that there are not sufficient bullet proof cars, security gadgets and personnel for VIP security. For these reasons, we have given ASL to all the important political leaders,” said a MHA official.
Earlier, ASL was only given to SPG protectees which included Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, vice-president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Vadra.
However, after the recent attack by IM at Modi’s Patna rally, the threat perception was reviewed. Gujarat police has also deployed a posse of nearly 150 policemen in Modi’s multilayer security matrix. Around 45 policemen who are part of Gujarat CM’s security are present at each spot which are identified in advance. Earlier, only a couple of police officers and an IG would go to states to liaison with the state police.