Punjab, the site
where the epic year-long farm protests took shape, will vote for its 117-seat Assembly
on February 20. With the Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Shiromani Akali Dal
(SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) vying to woo the citizenry, the
ruling party in the Centre has another concern – security. The Union government
has beefed up security for at least two dozen BJP leaders in the state,
according to a News18 report.

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While the Punjab
police is largely in charge of security of political leaders in the state, the
Centre has called for security “over and above the security cover provided to
them by the Punjab police,” the report stated. Units of the Central Reserve
Police Force and the Central Industrial Security Force are being pressed into

Security of BJP
leaders has emerged as a challenge in context of the farm protests. Agitators
protesting the three agriculture laws brought by the Centre attacked BJP
rallies in both Punjab and Haryana in isolated incidents. The laws were
eventually revoked, but the Centre doesn’t seem convinced that the risks have adequately
come down.

The concern over
security of BJP leaders in Punjab rose after Prime Minister Narendra Modi was
stranded on a highway in Ferozepur in January. The head of state waited on the
highway for nearly 20 minutes before returning to the airport owing to the
security breach.

Also Read | Modi promises ‘Naya Punjab’, slams ‘yuvraj’ Rahul Gandhi in Jalandhar rally

The next time Modi
went to Punjab for a poll rally, on Monday, he said he wanted to offer prayers
at a temple in Punjab but was told by the state police that they won’t be able
to make arrangements for the visit. “I wanted to offer prayers at Tripurmalini
Devi Shaktipeeth after this event, but the administration and police said they
will not be able to make the arrangements,” Modi said in Jalandhar, ANI

On Wednesday, the
Indian prime minister offered prayers at the Shri Guru Ravidas Visharam Dham
Mandir in Karol Bagh on the occasion of Ravidas Jayanti, PTI reported. Modi, on
Tuesday, hailed Guru Ravidas saying the Dalit saint had dedicated his life to
eliminating evil practices such as casteism and untouchability.