The Centre has sanctioned a “Z" category armed security cover to Soumendu Adhikari, the younger brother of BJP’s Suvendu Adhikari, who is the leader of opposition in the West Bengal Assembly, officials said on Thursday. A lower category of “Y+" security has also been extended to Greater Cooch Behar People’s Association (GCPA) leader Ananta Maharaj, who has a considerable following among the Rajbangshi community, they added.
The Union home ministry has sanctioned the armed VIP security cover to the two and has asked the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) to undertake the task, the officials said. This security cover has been extended following a recommendation made by central intelligence and security agencies that the two leaders require proper protection, they said.
Soumendu Adhikari joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in January, soon after his elder brother Suvendu Adhikari switched sides from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) to the saffron party.
In the West Bengal Assembly polls held in March-April, Suvendu Adhikari defeated West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee by a narrow margin from the Nandigram seat.
He himself is a protectee under the central security cover and armed CRPF commandos guard him under the top “Z+" category cover that involves about 20-22 commandos with the VIP and at his house at a given time.
Maharaj is considered to be close to the BJP and had supported it in the 2019 Lok Sabha election and this year’s West Bengal Assembly polls. The saffron party won six of the seven Assembly seats in Cooch Behar district.
The GCPA has been agitating for a separate Greater Cooch Behar state by carving out portions of West Bengal and Assam.