Soon after the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) condemned the alleged downgrading of security for party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his son and member of legislative council (MLC) Nara Lokesh, the office of Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police issued a clarification on the matter.
The office of the DGP has claimed that no changes have been made in the security arrangements for Naidu. “The former Chief Minister is being provided with the highest security cover in India. He is presently provided with Z plus category security,” the statement said.
On Tuesday, TDP state president Kala Venkata Rao had blamed the ruling YSRCP government for reducing the strength of security personnel “drastically”, from 146 to 67. He also condemned the scaling down of security cover for Lokesh from Z category to X category over the past few months, stating that Lokesh’s life is also under threat.
The DGP’s office has stated that a few changes have been made in security cover based on the decisions of the Security Review Committee. “At present, a total of 183 personnel are provided for his (Naidu’s) security, with 135 personnel in Vijayawada and 48 personnel in Hyderabad,” it said.
The YSRCP government had earlier reduced the security cover for Naidu in July last year. However, Naidu moved the High Court against the decision, and the court ended up directing the government to restore the strength of security personnel to 97.
Several former members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Parliament (MPs) as well as ministers of TDP also had their security cover withdrawn recently.
Naidu continued to complain about downgraded security during the state-wide public campaign Praja Chaitanya Yatra on Wednesday. He blamed the YSRCP for causing “physical harm” by reducing security cover for those who stand up for the people.
Ever since Naidu narrowly avoided an attack by Maoists near Tirupati in 2003, he has been provided with high-level security. He is covered with Z plus category security, with personnel from the National Security Guards (NSG).
In another incident in 2016, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) had reportedly threatened to take “revenge” on Naidu and Lokesh, when 28 Maoists were killed by special forces near the Andhra-Odisha Border.