Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had to return to Bathinda airport on Wednesdy due to security breach during his visit to Punjab, is learnt to have told state government officials at the airport, "Apne CM ko thanks kehna, ki mein Bhatinda airport tak zinda laut paaya".
Officials at Bhatinda Airport told ANI that PM Modi on his return to Bhatinda airport told officials there,"Apne CM ko thanks kehna, ki mein Bhatinda airport tak zinda laut paaya." (Say thanks to your CM that I was able to return to Bhatinda airport alive).
The Home Ministry has taken cognisance of the "serious security lapse" and has sought a detailed report from the state government. The State Government has also been asked to fix responsibility for this lapse and take strict action.
The Home Ministry said in a statement that PM Modi landed at Bathinda on Wednesday morning from where he was to go to the National Martyrs Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter.
Due to rain and poor visibility, the Prime Minister waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear out.
The statement said that when the weather did not improve, it was decided that he would visit the National Marytrs Memorial via road, which would take more than two hours. The Prime Minister proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation of necessary security arrangements by the DGP Punjab Police.
Around 30 kms away from the National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, when the Prime Minister's convoy reached a flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors.
The Prime Minister was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes.
"This was a major lapse in the security of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister's schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance to the Punjab Government. As per procedure, they have to make necessary arrangements for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready," the statement said.
"Also in view of the contingency plan the Punjab Government has to deploy additional security to secure any movement by road , which were clearly not deployed. After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda Airport," it added.
BJP leaders slammed the Punjab government for the "security breach".
Party chief JP Nadda said it is sad that the PM's visit to launch development projects worth thousands of crores for Punjab was disrupted.
"But we will not let such cheap mentality hinder progress of Punjab and will continue the effort for the development of Punjab," he said in a tweet.
"The state police was instructed to prevent people from attending the rally. Large number of buses were stranded because of the high-handedness of the police & connivance with protestors," he added.
Nadda also slammed Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and said he "refused to get on the phone".
"To make matters worse, CM Channi refused to get on the phone to either address the matter or solve it. The tactics used by the Congress government in Punjab would pain any one who believes in democratic principles," Nadda said.