Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s SPG security cover has been withdrawn, latest media reports said on Monday. The decision was taken by Amit Shah-led Home Ministry after the annual review, an NDTV report said. This is not the first time that the SPG cover of a former Prime Minister has been withdrawn. Earlier, security cover of HD Deve Gowda and VP Singh was also subsequently withdrawn after such a review by the Home Ministry. The NDTV report said that instead of SPG cover, Manmohan Singh will now be given CRPF security. The current security cover review is a periodical and professional exercise based on threat perception that is purely based on professional assessment by security agencies. Dr Manmohan Singh continues to have a Z+ security cover.
The Special Protection Group is an elite unit of security personnel drawn from the CRPF, ITBP and the CISF. At present, the SPG cover has been deployed for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. On basis of the annual review, the SPG security is deputed considering the threat level. Prior to the development, Manmohan Singh's daughters had already renounced their SPG cover. So had former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foster daughter.
Singh on Friday took oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha for his sixth term. Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu administered the oath in his chamber to 86-year-old Singh. Leader of the House Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi were present during the oath-taking. Leader of the Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad, deputy leader of Congress in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma, and Ahmed Patel were also present in the chairman's chamber.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and his deputy Sachin Pilot, besides some BJP leaders were also present. "Administered oath to Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh as Rajya Sabha MP in my Chamber in Rajya Sabha today," Naidu later tweeted along with pictures of the oath-taking in which Singh's wife Gursharan Kaur was also seen.
Singh, returned to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan. He was elected unopposed as the BJP did not put up a candidate against him. In the August 19 by-election, necessitated by the death of BJP MP Madan Lal Saini, the seat went to the Congress which is in power in Rajasthan after last year's state polls.
Singh's tenure in the Upper House had ended on June 14. He had earlier represented Assam in Rajya Sabha for around 28 years. Singh was elected to Rajya Sabha in 1991, 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2013. He was also the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha during 1998-2004 and Leader of the House as the Prime Minister during 2004-14.
He is the fourth oldest among the sitting members of the House of Elders after the 96-year-old Ram Jethmalani, 91-year-old Motilal Vora and 88-year-old CP Thakur.