Chief Agitator for One Rank One Pension extends support to Congress for upcoming polls

New Delhi, Jan 5 (PTI) Congress today got official support with a prominent ex-servicemen organisation lending support to it for the upcoming Assembly elections, alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done “precious little” for their welfare.

The Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM), which is spearheading an agitation for OROP implementation for last 571 days here, announced to support Congress in presence of PCC president Amarinder Singh and chief ministers of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand Virbhadra Singh and Harish Rawat respectively.

Speaking at the AICC headquarters, IESM chairman Maj Gen Satbir Singh (retd), hit out at the Prime Minister for not fulfilling his promise of granting OROP to all soldiers and accused the government of changing the definition of OROP as spelt out by Congress-led UPA before it was voted out of power.

In an apparent dig at the Prime Minister, he quoted Chanakya to say the king is not worthy of respect if a soldier has to go to him to seek something for him or his family.

Insisting that IESM, which is a federation of ex-servicemen’s organisations all over the country, has agreed to back Congress in the poll-going states as also elsewhere in the country as the party leadership has agreed to a charter of demands on OROP and related issues for welfare of soldiers, Satbir Singh said.

“Congress has given its agreement on implementation of OROP… We fully support the Congress in all the state in these elections,” he said.

The League has also taken upon itself for educating people to cast vote to those who fulfill their assurances. “We will be with you if you don’t break our assurances,” he said.

Amarinder Singh said most of the ex-service organisations throughout the country will be working together for the benefit of the Congress.

He said the movement entered its 571st day of protest at Jantar Mantar, on issues which they feel as ex-servicemen are vital for welfare of servicemen, like OROP, 7th Pay Commission and most importantly the downgrading of precedence of various ranks of the Army in relation to civilian counterparts.

“The last issue is the biggest thing. The ‘Izzat’ of a serviceman is more important than anything else. These issues are not limited just to Punjab. But, is affecting everybody,” he said.

“This will be a paid organisation which will employ ex-servicemen down to village-level and monitor how funds are spent. We hope this will help us improve the governance of Punjab,” he said.

Major Gen Satbir Singh had earlier allegedly lied about Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar while the agitation was at it’s peak and had praised Rahul Gandhi as well.