The Congress accused the government on Thursday of "trickery and treachery" for its "manipulative approach" in serving an eviction notice to party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra with regard to a bungalow allotted to her in Lutyens' Delhi as the threat perception to her has not been altered even though the protecting agency has changed.
Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said Priyanka Gandhi is not the person who would be cowed down by such "pettiness" on the part of the government.
He, however, skirted the issue on whether Priyanka Gandhi will shift base to Lucknow by saying she will continue to visit Uttar Pradesh and raise people's issues.
Singhvi also alleged that "frustration and political vendetta" are writ large in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) action against Congress leader Ahmed Patel, which has a "traceable direct link" to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad also deplored the government for sending the eviction notice to Priyanka Gandhi, saying it shows "vendetta".
"I strongly deplore the decision taken by the BJP Government asking Priyanka Gandhi to vacate her house. BJP is engaged in vendetta politics - 1st they scaled down security of Gandhi family and now her house," he wrote on Twitter. "How many non-MP BJP leaders are staying in bigger Government bungalows in New Delhi," the Congress leader said.
Singhvi said the classification of threat perception of neither Priyanka Gandhi nor Rahul Gandhi has been changed and it remains category "Z". So is the case of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and former prime ministers Manmohan Singh and HD Deve Gowda, he said.
"Their threat perception remains the same. Only thing is that the protecting agency has been changed from the SPG. So this is the trickery, the treachery, the manipulative approach, which need to be exposed," he said.
"Without changing the threat perception, you have simply, by law, changed away and taken away and reclassified them as non-SPG protectees. The threat perception has not changed, the protection agency has changed merely by a stroke of the pen," he added.
The Congress leader said without changing the threat perception, Priyanka Gandhi has become a non-SPG protectee, by virtue of which she loses her house.
"This is the trick which has to be understood. They are not saying that the threat perception is less, so is that not a travesty, is that not a seriously manipulated bungle?" he asked.
Singhvi said Priyanka Gandhi will not succumb to such actions, but this shows that those in power in Uttar Pradesh are unnerved at her persistence, fearlessness, crusading for political matters of the common man.
Asked to comment on reports that Priyanka Gandhi may actually shift to Lucknow, he said the core issue is the "machination of the government with treachery and trickery".
"What steps she takes, she has full rights to and she will take appropriate steps. I can assure you that she is not going to succumb. Obviously the powers in Uttar Pradesh are unnerved at her persistence, fearless, crusading for political matters of the common man," Singhvi said.
He said Priyanka Gandhi is raising relevant issues every day and that is the reason behind this kind of "pettiness". "I think they have misjudged the person completely and they have misjudged the Congress party," he said.
On a question related to the ED probe against Patel, Singhvi said, "Frustration and political vendetta are writ large. It has a traceable direct link to the prime minister and the home minister and the Gujarat connection of the Congress and Ahmed Patel."
He said it is clear that the "slap on the face of illegal, reprehensible, manipulative activities" in the Rajya Sabha polls in Gujarat has not yet been digested by the BJP's national and state leadership.
"They have not been able to digest that they are not to browbeat the Congress and Ahmed Patel or other functionaries to silence them, to cow them down.
"The tools and instruments of operation available with every government are being blatantly misused to harass, but, more importantly, to digress and divert, which is the two major Ds on the mind of the government since it has no answer to pressing issues like China, coronavirus mismanagement, the pitiable condition of the economy, unemployment and these silly so-called privatisation moves like the railways," Singhvi said.
All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary, organisation, KC Venugopal said the eviction notice to Priyanka Gandhi emanates from the BJP's "deep hatred" of the Nehru-Gandhi family and "vindictive and vendetta-driven" politics towards the Congress.
With the sole purpose of "political vengeance", the government had removed the SPG from the protective duties of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra last year, he said.
"The recent decision to send a notice to Smt Priyanka Gandhi to vacate her official residence is only in continuation of this nefarious design to put their lives at risk," Venugopal said in a statement.
He said neither the Congress nor the Nehru-Gandhi family can be silenced by such "cheap pettiness and threats".