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Austerity not at the cost of security, says Cong

September 16, 2009 21:06 IST

A day after the train carrying Rahul Gandhi was stoned, the Congress today said a balance has to be struck between security concerns and commitment to austerity.

"While our commitment to austerity stands unchanged, security concerns of SPG protectees are paramount and will be kept in mind," party spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan told reporters here when asked to comment on the incident.

Natarajan said the Congress wants to be to be seen with the common man and will  have to take care of security also.

"Both will have to be balanced," she said adding "since it is a matter that concerns his (Rahul's) security, all measures must be taken...we will take all these concerns on board."

Natarajan, however, dismissed the stone-pelting incident as the "handiwork of some youngsters".

A senior AICC leader had on condition of anonymity also said while austerity is fine security aspect must not be compromised with.

"Such measures do have an impact on checking tendencies of extravagance among party leaders but caution has to be applied when it comes to those with high security risk,"

the leader said when asked about Congress president Sonia Gandhi's air travel to Mumbai in economy class and Rahul Gandhi's train journey in a non-executive class to Ludhiana.

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