Former chief of the army staff Gen VK Singh has urged political parties to meet the demand for one rank, one pension to pocket nearly 10 crore votes of ex-servicemen, serving personnel and their families.
"Political parties have failed to meet the long-pending demand for one rank, one pension," Gen Singh said at a rally of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement (IESM) in Pataudha village, 22 km from the district headquarters, on Sunday.
The votes of ex-servicemen, serving personnel and their families settled in Haryana, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra add up to nearly 10 crore, the retired army chief said, adding that the political parties could cash in on this vote bank by one stroke - by accepting one rank, one demand pension.
Taking potshots at the bureaucracy, he said: "The dominant 'babu culture' never want the defence personnel to get their rights. During my stint as the chief of the army staff, the defence minister had given nod to many welfare programmes for the defence personnel but the related files never came out from the bureaucratic circles."
He was equally critical of the defence personnel for their plight. "You people are made to suffer because your vote bank is not consolidated. The day you dissolve differences on the basis of caste, culture and religion, and start putting up a united face, you will get your due."
Likely to attend Namo rally
On Gujarat chief minister Narender Modi's visit to Rewari to address an ex-servicemen rally on September 15, he said: "The rally is for the welfare of ex-servicemen and all ex-servicemen personnel are invited. If I get the invitation, I will like to attend it."
'Inept policies to blame for China dominance'
On the repeated incursions by China and Pakistan, Gen Singh told the media: "Our country's inept policies are responsible for continuous aggression by China and Pakistan." The problem would be solved once the country framed definite policies to fix the problem on the borders, he said.
Anna's village is model village
Giving a call to ex-servicemen to follow in the footsteps of social activist Anna Hazare, the former army chief said Anna was an ex-serviceman and had changed the socio-economic conditions for his native village. Recounting his visit to the village, he said: "On my visit to Anna's village in Maharashtra, I was surprised to find that he has changed the destiny of villagers by raising their economic standards manifold."
To join politics at right time
Rubbishing the rumour about his candidature on the BJP ticket from Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh) against UPA president Sonia Gandhi in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Gen Singh said: "Earlier rumours were rife that I was going to join the Indian National Lok Dal and now, people are linking me with the BJP.
Tomorrow, they can associate me with the Congress." He said that whenever he would join politics or any outfit, he would make a formal announcement regarding it.