Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s security cover remains intact with 63 people assigned to guard him, the Delhi Police said on Thursday, refuting reports that claimed that the Aam Aadmi Party leader’s protection had been pared down.
“Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has Z-Plus security from Delhi Police which comprises pilot, escort, close protection team, home guard, spotter, search-and-frisking staff etcetera in the form of 47 plain-clothes personnel and 16 uniformed personnel from CRPF,” police spokesperson Chinmay Biswal said.
“The security cover provided to him remains unchanged and there has been no reduction in the number of personnel provided to him. Four policemen have been replaced by four other policemen for administrative reasons. The security rules in the ‘yellow book’ that are followed say this is a normal procedure. The Z-Plus security remains intact,” he added.
The statement came after media reports quoting unnamed sources in the AAP government claimed that a day before Mr Kejriwal’s roadshow in Gujarat’s Surat, his security cover had been scaled down.
The Delhi Police reports to the BJP-led central government and not Mr Kejriwal’s administration – a distinction that has led to several face-offs over his six-year term that famously began with him refusing security cover as a denunciation of VIP-culture.
“The development at the behest of the BJP leadership has come two days after the Aam Aadmi Party’s impressive performance in the Gujarat civic body polls,” news agency PTI quoted a source as saying.
The number of commandos of the Delhi Police in Mr Kejriwal’s security has now been reduced from six to two, the sources alleged.
Aam Aadmi Party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj demanded “the reasons” behind the “petty decision”. “The MHA has withdrawn four police commandos from Arvind Kejriwal’s security. It’s sad and regrettable that the Centre could compromise with someone’s security like this,” he said.
He said Kejriwal was attacked several times in the past and yet he has a security cover comprising of only six police commandos which is negligible as compared to that of other Chief Ministers or central government ministers.
Mr Bhardwaj said the move comes two days after the AAP’s “grand” performance in Gujarat civic body polls, traditionally dominated by the BJP.
The AAP has won 27 seats in the municipal polls in Surat, where the party convener will attend a roadshow on Friday. Mr Kejriwal had termed the party’s success in Gujarat as the beginning of a new politics in the state.