Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is set to lose top security cover that only a dozen other political leaders have. He will no longer be protected by black cat commandos of the National Security Guard, the home ministry has decided, according to sources.
The decision was reportedly taken after a comprehensive review of VIP protectees by the Home Ministry.
Akhilesh Yadav was among three former Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh given NSG cover - or Z plus category security - along with his father Mulayam Singh Yadav and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati.
Yogi Adityanath, the current Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, also has this security.
The others are former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, former Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Prafulla Mahanta, one of his predecessors.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, and two former home ministers LK Advani and Rajnath Singh also have.
Sources say the Home Ministry assessed that the security threat to Akhilesh Yadav was not as high. The former chief minister had 22 NSG commandos as part of his cover, who will now be called back.
Akhilesh Yadav was given top security in 2012, when the Congress-led government was in power at the centre.
The security downgrade comes at a time the Samajwadi chief has suffered defeat in the national election, in which his alliance with Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh flopped miserably, yielding only five seats for him in the 80-seat state.
Days after the results, Mayawati announced an end to the alliance, which had marked a reunion for the bitter rivals after three decades.