The Centre has accorded a Z+ security cover of CRPF commandos to the NDA’s presidential candidate Droupadi Murmu, officials said on Wednesday. The armed squad took over the security of Murmu, 64, early Wednesday morning,a senior officer told PTI.
BJP president J P Nadda announced the candidature of Murmu, a party leader from Odisha who served as Jharkhand governor, at a press conference Tuesday night following a meeting of the party’s parliamentary board, which included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other senior leaders. Officials said soon after this announcement, the Union home ministry directed the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to deploy its VIP protection team to take charge of Murmu’s security.
A threat perception security report generated by central security agencies for the NDA presidential candidate formed the basis for the home ministry’s decision, the officials said. A detachment of about 14-16 personnel of the paramilitary force based in Odisha has taken over the task of providing the security cover to Murmu. They will be escorting her wherever she travels across the state and the country, the officials said.
The security personnel will also secure her home in Rairangpur in Odisha. Murmu is expected to travel extensively over the next one month to meet legislators and leaders of various political parties to seek support for her candidature, the officials said.
It is expected that the commando team will guard her till she takes charge as the first citizen of the country, a strong possibility as numbers are stacked up in favour of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA). The CRPF guards VIPs like Union Home Minister Amit Shah and the first family of the Congress party that includes party president Sonia Gandhi and her children Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra among others.
In 2017, NDA presidential candidate and current President Ram Nath Kovind was provided a similar security cover of the ‘black cats’ NSG commandos by the Centre. The presidential election would be held on July 18 to elect a successor to Kovind and the result would be out on July 21.
Kovind’s term will end on July 24.