As the Government withdrew the highest-level Special Protection Group (SPG) protection given to Gandhi family, Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Friday tweeted a “Thank You” note for the personnel of the security force.

Gandhi thanked all the personnel of the SPG for dedicatedly protecting him and his family for years and said it was “journey” filled with “affection and learning”.

“A big thank you to all my brothers and sisters in the SPG who worked tirelessly to protect me and my family over the years. Thank you for your dedication, your constant support and for a journey filled with affection and learning. It has been a privilege. All the best for a great future,” he said in a tweet.

In a major development on Friday, the Centre withdrew the highest-level security extended to Sonia, her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Here on, the Congress leaders will get ‘Z plus’ security provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

In the wake of the latest decision, the top security cover will now be given only to the Prime Minister.

The ‘Z plus’ security means the Gandhis will be guarded by around 100 CRPF personnel. According to procedures laid down by the SPG Act, 1988, Gandhis’ SPG security cover was renewed annually after a review of threats faced by them.

The SPG security will be withdrawn from their New Delhi residences after the CRPF takes over the responsibility.

The SPG was set up in 1985 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on October 31, 1984.

Parliament passed the SPG Act in 1988, dedicating the group to protecting the Prime Minister alone. Later, the Act was amended for providing security to former prime ministers and their immediate family members.

Special Protection Group is a 3000-strong “zero error” security force. Personnel for the SPG are drawn from various Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) on deputation and it is a highly-trained unit equipped with some of the most modern weapons, gadgets and vehicles.

Following the move, Congress workers protested outside the residence of Amit Shah, raised slogans against the Union Home Minister and the BJP government on Friday evening.

The Congress party slammed the government for removing SPG cover of the Gandhi family, terming it as a “sinister” and “vindictive” move.

“The BJP has descended to the ultimate personal vendetta mechanism, compromising the lives of family members of two former Prime Ministers to acts of terror and violence,” Congress leader Ahmed Patel tweeted.

Congress working committee member Jitin Prasada said this was a “sinister” move.

“Withdrawing the SPG security cover of a family that has lost its family members in the line of duty to brutal political assassinations reveals the sinister vendetta politics of this govt, he said.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh condemned the move and demanded revocation of the Central Government’s ‘politically motivated’ decision.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in a series of tweets also condemned the action along with several other leaders.