NEW DELHI: Senior BJP leader Jaswant Singh has termed the UPA Government’s handling of the Army Chief’s age row “insensitive”. Singh also felt that the Prime Minister or Defence Minister could have sorted out the matter in consultations with Army chief General V K Singh.
“I am amazed at his (Defence Minister) incompetence and sheer folly of treating such a sensitive matter in an insensitive manner,” the former Defence Minister said. “Could the Defence Minister or the Prime Minister have not stopped or asked the Army chief? Or walked to his office and sort out this elementary matter of sorting government records,” he added.
Maintaining that the UPA Government’s approach to the Army Chief’s age issue was “extremely distasteful”, he said that the Army could not be treated in such a fashion as “there was a disconnect between the civilian government and the military”.
On whether Gen Singh should resign, Jaswant said: “Why should he. Is that what bureaucracy wants him to do?” “Just because the Army Chief sought correction of the ‘wrong’ record, the government cannot treat it as ‘mutinous behaviour’,” he said.
“I am supporting the institution of Chief of Army Staff, not a person. Don’t blunt the sword arm of the country ... I wish they had paid more attention by trying to talk to the General at an appropriate time and there would have been no problem because the General is known as a very reasonable person,” Jaswant added.
Other BJP leaders, too, hit out at the government on the issue.
Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav, on the other hand, felt that the Army Chief should not have moved the court and the matter should have been handled “in a much better way by the government”.