NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday hit back at the Congress for politicising Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat’s appointment as the Army Chief and drew the opposition’s attention to the decision taken during the regime of late prime minister Indira Gandhi when the then government superseded Lieutenant General S.K. Sinha to appoint General A.S. Vaidya as the Army Chief in 1983.
BJP leader Siddharth Nath Singh said it is extremely unfortunate that the Congress looks to politicise each and everything.
“Therefore, the Congress spokesperson (Manish Tewari) should resist about it because the chief of the Army has been appointed and this is not the first time that the supersession have been done,” Singh told ANI.
“There are other cases in the Indian Air Force, Indian Navy…also the same thing has happened. So, let’s not politicise each and everything and particularly when it comes to the Indian armed forces. It’s very sad that the Congress is trying to politicise this appointment,” he added.
With the Centre announcing the name of the new Chief of Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress demanded an answer from the government while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer.
Tewari, however, stated that this was not a personal attack on the new Army Chief but a legitimate question which owes an explanation.
“With all due respect to Lieutenant General Rawat’s professionalism and brilliance as a soldier and no personal animosity to anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why has this supersession taken place. After all Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi who commands the Eastern Command, the Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen Mohammed Ali and the Central Army Commander are all senior to the gentleman who is being designated,” Tewari said.
“Every situation has its own context and therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify supersession. Why were these three senior army commanders superseded? Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason that the fourth incumbent was picked and I guess the Army being a public institution the country deserves those answers,” Tewari stated.
The government earlier on Saturday announced the name of Lieutenant General Rawat as the new Chief of Army Staff and Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa as the new Chief of Air Staff.
Lieutenant General Rawat, who took over as the Army vice-chief in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Praveen Bakshi (armoured corps) and Southern Army Command chief Lieutenant General PM Hariz (mechanised infantry).
Lieutenant General Rawat has remarkable experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades.
He has handled various operational responsibilities in many areas, including along the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan, the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China and in the North-East.
He is known for his balanced approach towards soldiering, compassion, and his connect with the civil society.
According to sources, Lieutenant General Rawat was found the best suited to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganized and restructured military force in the north; continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west and the situation in the North-East.
Air Marshal Dhanoa, who will replace Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, was commissioned into the fighter stream of the Air Force in June 1978. He has served in various squadrons, and also in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.