Aiming at gaining support of ex-servicemen in the Haryana assembly elections, Union minister and former army chief VK Singh said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) would “soon clear bureaucratic hurdles” to implement the ‘one rank-one pension’ (OROP) scheme for the armed forces. Urging the people to “throw stones” at other parties, Singh said the Centre had allotted Rs 1,000 crore for the implementation of the OROP scheme in the budget.
He was addressing a rally in support of the party’s nominee from Gharaunda, Harvinder Kalyan, who had recently joined the saffron party. Once a close aide of late chief minister Bhajan Lal, Kalyan quit the Congress in 2005 and joined the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) floated by Bhajan Lal. Then he joined the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and contested the 2009 elections unsuccessfully as its candidate.
Meanwhile, Singh, Union minister of state for external affairs, said the Centre would increase the OROP allocation and “may start disbursing dues in installments”. He claimed, “The Congress government did nothing for the ex-servicemen. The BJP upon assuming power paved the way for fulfillment of the long-pending demand. Though the Centre has made up its mind to implement the scheme, files are pending with bureaucrats. I am sure these would be cleared soon.”
While seeking votes, the former army general said: “Agar doosri party wale aayein to unko patthar marna (If other parties come to seek votes, throw stones at them). These parties, particularly the Congress, simply ignored the interests of ex-servicemen, and deserve punishment.”
Highlighting his association with anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare, Singh said the time had come to elect people who assured transparency.
He said it was unfortunate that respective governments “did nothing” for the development of Haryana’s villages: “The situation is pathetic even in urban areas where slums have developed due to absence of proper planning.”
Lauding the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana recently launched by the Centre, he said the scheme for MPs to adopt village “will ensure systematic development”.