The Congress on Tuesday demanded VK Singh’s resignation, saying he has “no moral right” to continue as a minister of state following the NDA government’s “vote of no-confidence” against him in the form of its affidavit in the Supreme Court regarding Army vice chief Dalbir Singh's promotion.
VK Singh is a minister of state with development of northeastern region (independent charge), external affairs in the Modi government.
The defence ministry’s affidavit before the Supreme Court defending Army vice chief Dalbir Singh's promotion as Army commander is a reiteration of the stand taken by the UPA-II when the matter was fought before the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). Arun Jaitley, defence minister, has asked for an explanation from the ministry as to how the affidavit was filed.
Sources involved in preparing the government response claimed the BJP government could not have taken a contrary stand to the one before the tribunal.
The affidavit quotes UPA-II government’s order holding the disciplinary ban on Suhag — by then Army Chief Gen (retd) VK Singh — as illegal and premeditated. The ban was for alleged “failure of command and control” in an operation in Dimapur.
“It’s a direct vote of no-confidence by the government describing the action of its own minister as ‘illegal, extraneous and premeditated’,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said, quoting some portions of the affidavit.
Filed in response to a petition by Lt Gen Ravi Dastane challenging Dalbir Singh’s promotion, the affidavit further stated that armyman’s recommendation for his promotion was kept pending when it was learnt that an inquiry was pending against him.
The same was processed only after the present Army chief General Bikram Singh found that the administrative action initiated against Dalbir Singh was without any merit.