Smarting from slap, state tightens security cover

Smarting from the resounding slap received by NCP chief Sharad Pawar, the Democratic Front government in the state went into a huddle last evening, to make a quick review of the security cover extended to its bigwigs.

Sources from Mantralaya claimed that the security net around CM Chavan, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Home Minister R R Patil has been made tauter.

As an immediate aftermath to the incident that was the talking point in political circles yesterday, visitors were not allowed to gather near the chambers of the holy trinity of the Democratic Front Government. Security personnel could be seen busily managing visitors near their offices.

Taking cognisance of the ongoing agitation waged by cotton growers, the CM's secretariat advocated that he opt for a tighter security cover.

Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Umeshchandra Sarangi went in for a brief meeting with R R Patil in the afternoon.

"A comprehensive review of the security cover provided to VIPs and VVIPs was made two months ago, and it will be done again very soon. We are keeping a close watch on the security angle, and the necessary precautionary measures will be taken," the official said.

The incident sent shockwaves through Mantralaya. Madhukar Pichad, president of the state unit of NCP said, "We have told Mr Pawar that times have changed, and he should go for enhanced security cover."

The mood at the NCP's state office at Nariman Point was rather gloomy and downcast. A party leader whispered that the attack on their revered leader, who has been in public service for 44 years, took them completely by surprise.

"This is a big jolt to the party," he murmured.
Condemning the violent outburst, senior NCP leaders -- including Pichad, Ajit Pawar, Patil and PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal -- demanded a thorough probe into the assault.

Though Pawar had appealed to his party workers to exercise restraint, supporters from NCP took to the streets to condemn the attack. NCP minister Laxman Dhoble spearheaded a rasta roko at Mohol in the Solapur district, with protesters shouting slogans condemning the attack.

Traffic was blocked at Trimbak Road and Kalwan in Nashik district and at Baramati, Pawar's native place in Pune district, traders observed a bandh.

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