Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first rally in poll-bound Punjab, scheduled to take place in Ferozepur on Wednesday, has been cancelled due to what the Union home ministry has described as a 'major lapse in the PM's security.'
"Today morning, the PM landed at Bhatinda, from where he was to go to the National Marytrs' Memorial at Hussainiwala by helicopter. Due to rain and poor visibility, he waited for about 20 minutes for the weather to clear out," the Ministry of home affairs said, according to news agency ANI.
When the weather didn't improve, the ministry said, a decision was taken that the Prime Minister will visit the memorial via road, adding that this journey would have taken more than two hours. "He proceeded to travel by road after necessary confirmation on security arrangements by the DGP, Punjab Police," it further said.
"However, around 30kms away from the National Martyrs' Memorial, when the convoy reached flyover, it was found that the road was blocked by some protestors. The PM was stuck on a flyover for 15-20 minutes. This was a major lapse in the security of PM," the MHA detailed.
While the statement did not specify who the agitators were, in the run-up to the Prime Minister's visit, videos emerged on social media of people, said to be farmers protesting against the now-repealed central agricultural laws, allegedly blocking roads leading to Ferozepur.
Meanwhile, blaming Punjab government, the MHA said that the PM's schedule and travel plan was communicated well in advance and, as such, the state government has to make necessary arrangement for logistics, security as well as keep a contingency plan ready.
"After this security lapse, it was decided to head back to Bathinda airport. 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," the statement concluded, also saying that a report has been sought from the Punjab government to fix responsibility for this lapse and for action to be taken.