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PM Modi stuck on Bathinda flyover due to farmers protest, BJP says Punjab CM Channi ignored SOS

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 05, Jan 2022, 20:17 pm IST | UPDATED: 05, Jan 2022, 20:17 pm IST

PM Modi stuck on Bathinda flyover due to farmers protest, BJP says Punjab CM Channi ignored SOS New Delhi: PM Narendra Modi cancelled his programme in Punjab today after a massive security breach left him stuck on a highway for 20 minutes because of protesting farmers. In a spiralling row in election season, the BJP accused Punjab's ruling Congress of 'murderous intentions'.

Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, denying any lapse, said he would die for the Prime Minister but he was never in danger.

Visuals from Bathinda showed the Prime Minister's convoy on the flyover, surrounded by Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel. PM Modi was seen waiting in a black armoured Toyota Fortuner ringed by SPG officers. Barely a few feet from his car were clusters of people and policemen.

As the cavalcade waited, announcements made at a nearby gurdwara brought more farmers to the site, forcing the prime minister’s SPG security team to decide to turn back fearing security risk. Sources said that the cavalcade was stuck on the flyover for nearly 15 minutes.

Images tweeted by a BJP worker showed posters held up as the PM's car drove by. A BJP bus following the convoy was heckled by protesters.

DIG Inderbir Singh claimed the farmers’ appearance took security teams by surprise.PM Modi cut short his visit and returned to the airport.

"The PM was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of PM," said the Home Ministry in a statement.

It was the "single biggest lapse in the security of any Indian Prime Minister in recent years", added the BJP.

When the PM's convoy reached a flyover, the road was blocked by protestors.

The Prime Minister had landed in Bathinda earlier today and was to be flown to a Ferozepur rally by a helicopter. After waiting for the weather to clear up, he decided to go by road to the spot two hours away.

Around 30 kms away from National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainniwala, when the PM’s convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors. The PM was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of PM," the MHA said.

"It was a murderous conspiracy to kill the PM. The Congress hates him, now they want to harm him," said BJP leader and Union Minister Smriti Irani.

Countering images of the PM's convoy on the highway, Punjab ministers tweeted photos of what they claimed were empty seats at his cancelled rally.

"The truth is that BJP's rally was a flop show. When PM got to know this, he decided to return," said Punjab Minister Rajkumar Verka.

Chief Minister Channi, facing BJP attacks, expressed regret that the PM had to return but pointed out that the plan changed at the last minute and that the convoy was offered an alternative route.

"As a Punjabi, I would die to protect you...but there was no danger to his life. There was no security breach. We have every respect for our Prime Minister," Mr Channi said.

He added, “The Punjab Police is capable of providing security. All this happened because the PM’s way of travel was changed at the last minute. Yet, the PM’s office was informed beforehand that agitators had assembled on the road. He decided to cancel his rally. His team took the decision of cancelling the rally. He could have used his chopper.”

BJP chief JP Nadda had earlier lashed out the Chief Minister, accusing him of refusing to take phone calls.

"It is sad that PM's visit to launch development projects worth thousands of crores for Punjab was disrupted... State Police was instructed to prevent people from attending the rally...CM Channi refused to get on phone to either address the matter or solve it," Mr Nadda tweeted.

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP chief should "stop losing cool and all sense of propriety".

"10,000 security personnel were deployed for the PM's Rally. All arrangements were made in tandem with SPG and other agencies. A route was carved even for all buses of BJP workers from Haryana/Rajasthan. PM decided to take a road journey to Hussainiwala. It was not part of his original schedule to travel by road," Mr Surjewala said.

Earlier, former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh tweeted, “Complete failure of law and order in Punjab, CM and HM Punjab, in particular. When you cannot provide smooth passage to the Prime Minister of the country and that too just 10km from the Pakistan border, you have no right to stay in office and should quit!”

The Ministry of Home Affairs has sought a report from the state government asking how the PM’s cavalcade was stranded on a flyover for over 15 minutes due to a protest, when his programme had been duly communicated to the state police. “The PM’s schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to Punjab Government.

"As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready. Also in view of the contingency plan Punjab Government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road, which were clearly not deployed,” the MHA said in a statement.
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