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Family over party? Congress ‘agitation’ against economic slowdown to now include issue of the Gandhis’ SPG cover withdrawal

According to the reports, the Congress party has written to the state units to include the issue of removal of SPG security to Gandhi family as one of the mainstays of the protests that were supposed to be about the 'economic slowdown'.

As the central government decided to downgrade the security cover for the Gandhi family from SPG cover to ‘Z-plus’ category, the agitated Congress party has now decided to make the issue as one of the main agenda of their ongoing ‘protests’ that were supposed to be over ‘economic slowdown’.

According to the reports, the Congress party has written to the state units to include the issue of removal of SPG security to Gandhi family as one of the mainstays of the protests.

The AICC directive while directing its state units to protest against economic issues, interestingly has included the issue of SPG cover issue of the Gandhis. “In the meanwhile, we have also seen the vindictive action of the BJP government in the withdrawal of SPG cover to our top leaders,” read the directive.

Read: Here are the possible reasons why Rahul, Sonia and Priyanka Gandhi lost their SPG cover

The Congress has reportedly extended the agitation for another 10 days to raise the pitch against the government over the withdrawal of SPG protection to the Gandhi family and economic slowdown among other issues. The agitation, which began on November 5 and was to end on November 15, will now go on till November 25.

Last week, the centre had downgraded the security cover provided to Gandhi Parivar from SPG cover to Z-plus category after the intelligence agencies presented a detailed threat perception.

Reportedly, the non-cooperation of the Gandhi family with the SPG over the years and preventing the smooth functioning of SPG was also one of the reasons for the government to downgrade their security from SPG to a Z-plus category.

The AICC’s formal directive to state units to protest over Centre’s ‘vendetta’ on SPG cover issue means that this issue will take precedence over economic issues during the dharnas and press conferences during the upcoming event.

“The agitation of the Congress party will lay special focus on the high degree of unemployment, unprecedented economic slowdown, spiralling price rise, the collapse of the banking system, farm distress, heavy loss of jobs, the adverse impact of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), among others,” said the directive issued by Congress General Secretary K C Venugopal.

It is notable here that on November 8, workers of Youth Congress had protested outside Home Minister Amit Shah’s residence over the Gandhis’ SPG cover removal.

Earlier, the grand old party had announced that it will hold an all-party protest rally on December 1 at Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi on issues of ‘economic slowdown and agrarian crisis’ after failing to put up a protest against the government on two occasions despite announcements. This was the third such ‘protest rally’ announced by Congress since September.

In September, Congress had announced a country-wide agitation from 15th to 25th October on these issues. However, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi was off on vacation at a mysterious foreign location, dampening the ‘protest’ plans of his party.

Read: Congress puts the ‘slow’ in ‘economic slowdown’, protest rally due in October to be held in December

In October, before the last date of planned protests expired, Congress announced fresh dates of protests against ‘economic slowdown’. On 22nd October, the Congress party yet again issued a statement stating that they will protest across the country in the first week of November. Then, the Congress had announced that the protests will be starting from 5th November and continue till 15th November.

Read: 23 days after he left for a Bangkok vacation, Rahul Gandhi leaves for another foreign tour, this time Indonesia: Reports

Earlier, it was announced that Rahul Gandhi will come back from his so-called ‘meditational’ visit abroad to join the protests. But so far, the Gandhi scion is yet to be spotted in public. The party had also announced another round of protests on December 1 at Delhi’s Ramleela Maidan. So far, there are no updates as to whether the December protests will be a continuation of the current ones or it will be started all over again.

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