The Congress has not been a good party for the armed forces, former army chief Gen. (retd) V.K. Singh has said.
In an interview with CNN-IBN news channel, Gen. Singh said he joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as he was convinced about the need to be part of the political system to bring about a change.
Gen. Singh, who joined the BJP last week, described the party’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi as a doer.
“When I looked at various things… and especially the resignation by the naval chief convinced me… that if we want to change something, I think it is important to get on to a political platform,” he said.
“By remaining outside, I have seen in these two years, nothing seems to be happening.” Gen. Singh said some of the issues raised by him appeared close to those being raised by the BJP, as the opposition party was pointing out faults in the system.
He said the Congress-led government has not been able to meet the requirements of the armed forces concerning equipment. “Let me make a statement. So far as the armed forces are concerned, the Congress party has not been a good party.
“It has not been a good party because a lot of things which the forces wanted, whether it was the commissions, whether it was the way the equipments should have been done, whether it was the protocols, Congress has always tried to be against the forces if I can say so,” Gen. Singh was quoted as saying in a press release.
He also said the United Progressive Alliance government’s decision on “one rank, one pension” was “vote bank politics”. “Today, you suddenly wake up and say these people have been agitating so let’s give them a lollipop. Oh, we accept the principle. That’s it. You accepted this principle 26 years back.”
Gen. Singh had a row with the government concerning his age during his term as army chief. He also said he would contest the Lok Sabha elections if the BJP asks him to do so. “I have got pan-India acceptability. I can campaign in the northeast, I can campaign in the south, I can campaign anywhere, it doesn’t make any difference.”
Asked about the perception that Modi was a dictator, Singh said in his view the Gujarat chief minister had “a vision of development and he (Modi) is a doer”. “Now with these two things, somebody can call him a dictator, somebody can call him any other things what he wants to depending on how you want to see.” Asked if he believes the BJP was the biggest secular party, Gen. Singh said he was not making comments about any party.
“All I am saying is secularism has become a political term. If they abide by what I consider as secular, give respect to all religions equally, then they fit into the bin.” Asked about Anna Hazare, Gen. Singh said he still takes moral strength from the social activist. He also said national security was a big issue and a large number of players had to be involved in it.
“Where armed forces are concerned, a lot of things need to be ironed out, straightened, and streamlined so that things become better. “It needs systematic changes, it requires ironing out things. There is lot of transparency and accountability that is to be brought into the system,” he said.