Ex-servicemen give a jolt to Congress in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : The Congress-led UPA government announced with much fanfare the implementation of the ‘one rank one pension’ scheme, a demand of the ex-servicemen that had been pending for years, in the hope that it would get them much needed mileage from the large population of former armymen in the Lok Sabha elections.

But if the views put forward by ex-servicemen in their meeting with the press here is any indication that the move may back fire, as the former armymen feel that they may have been taken for a ride and made to believe that their demand had been fulfilled in principle, whereas actually it may have not been implemented in letter and spirit.

A number of senior ex-servicemen here, including retired Lt Generals and Maj Generals, minced no words when they told members of the media that though the announcement for implementing their long-standing demand of ‘one rank one pension’ had been made but there were no efforts to convert it into a ground reality and as of now it appeared that they had been “hoodwinked”.

Asserting that this was the reason why they had decided to come out in support of the BJP in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in Uttarakhand slated for May 7, they said that the prevailing sad state of affairs in the country was also why they had decided to go the BJP way.

They went to the extent of saying that some of them may take the membership of the BJP in the coming days.

“Besides, we have been hearing to the speeches of the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for quite a few days now and he has been talking about not only development of the country and its defence but also how to put the sagging economy back on the rails and the immediate measures that are required need a strong political will”, they added.

They said that it is an irony that the Congress was quiet on the burning issues that this small hill state is facing and which could have long reaching percussions in the years to come, if they are not immediately tackled head on. “The Congress is completely silent on issues like migration, natural calamities that hit the state with regular frequency and rescue and relief operations during such times, besides the safety in the bordering villages”, they added.

Claiming that they had decided to go with the BJP in the interest of not only the country, but Uttarakhand also, they said that they wanted to see Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister, as from the various platforms he had spolken, he had shown the will and desire to make the nation strong and tackle the problems, without dithering on them.

This will come as a jolt to the Congress, which was banking heavily upon the ex-servicemen in this small hill state which has a population of about two lakh serving and ex-servicemen, besides another large number of its youth in the para-military forces.

In fact the Congress incharge for Uttarakhand, Rajiv Shukla, had recently taken Lt Gen TPS Rawat and Lt Gen Gambhir Singh Negi to meet Sonia Gandhi, so that the duo would help in the Congress campaign in this small hill state.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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