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January 23, 2017

You are here:  / Defense / Indian Army / Opinion Blog / The Hypocrisy of the Congress on Army Suppression

The Hypocrisy of the Congress on Army Suppression

SK Sinha & Army Chief Bipin Rawat

Lt Gen Bipin Rawat has been announced as the next army chief succeeding Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag. Gen Rawat has been chosen from a pool of five senior most officers. All are equally competent, decorated, honest, and have served the motherland with equal passion. Congress and Left parties are trying to politicize his appointment by creating unnecessary controversy like they have been doing about every decision that Modi government takes.

In its six decades of power, Congress has built a strong ecosystem. Be it Politics, Bureaucracy, Judiciary, or the Media, Congress has corrupted everything! Even the armed forces, which are an apolitical force, have not been left untouched. Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari had held a press conference to condemn the appointment of Gen Rawat. He said, “We would like to ask the Prime Minister what was the compelling reason why this supersession has taken place. Why the principle of seniority, which was held now for almost two decades, was not respected?” Manish Tewari lied! Rules were bent even in 2014 when Vice Admiral Shekhar Sinha was superseded in the appointment of the Chief of Naval Staff.

Manish Tewari said, “Now the argument the government will give that Congress did supersession in the 80s and therefore it has the right to do so is a complete nonsense.” Why is it complete nonsense to follow the precedence? Even the judiciary follows this as an unwritten rule. Not just in the 80s, Congress has always run the government the way it wanted. In 1972, the opportunity to be the Army Chief was snatched from Lt Gen PS Bhagat by giving a one-year extension to Gen GG Bewoor. Gen Bhagat had retired by that time and Gen Bewoor became chief.

Till date, the most controversial is the supersession of Lt Gen SK Sinha. When he took over the role of the Vice Chief, he was instructed to operate on the assumption that he was to be the next chief. Just before Operation Blue Star, Indira Gandhi asked Sinha to plan the attack on Golden Temple. Gen Sinha, an upright officer, followed the protocol and sought permission from the Defence Minister to convey his views to the PM before ordering his soldiers. He was worried about the unity of Indian Army as Sikhs were an integral and important part of Indian Army. In 1983, in a surprise move, Gen Vaidya was appointed the Army Chief superseding Gen Sinha. It was not mere coincidence that Gen Vaidya was the in-charge of Operation Blue Star.

Upset over his supersession, Gen Sinha resigned from army. In a face-saving effort, the Government made all attempts to pressurize him into taking his resignation back. A message on behalf of the then Defence Minister, R Venkataraman, was sent that he had ‘high regards’ for Gen Sinha and if he meets the minister, he could do ‘a lot’ for him. Gen Sinha politely declined the offer as he was still a serving officer and any order by the Defence Minister would have been considered official. When opposition MPs wanted to debate the issue in the Parliament, Venkataraman asked Gen Sinha to issue a statement to stop them from raising the issue.

In 1988, Air Marshal MM Singh was superseded. In 1990, the VP Singh government had superseded Vice Admiral Tony Jain and named his junior, Laxminaryan Ramdas as the new Navy Chief. In 1991, the appointment of Air Chief Marshal as the Air Force Chief Nirmal Chand Suri required a lot of handholding, but finally, the Narsimha Rao government was successful in appointing him. Gen S Padmanabhan in 2000 and Gen Deepak Kapoor in 2007 were both #3 by seniority, but became Army Chiefs.

Congress in its hurry to criticize every decision of Modi government keeps forgetting that it is no longer ruling India, but is in the opposition. It sounds like a joke when Manish Tewari says things like:

“Is it that these officers who have been superseded were unqualified in any manner or is it whimsical cherry-picking which has been done by the BJP-led government?”

The Congress has never respected the institutions of the country. If the history of independent India is full of exceptions, corrupt practices, and distorted traditions, who is responsible?

Rita Gupta

The Author, a proud nationalist, was a presenter with the All India Radio. She is from an Army background.

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