Veteran BJP leader L.K. Advani has said the recent report in the Indian Express on the purported unusual troop movement in the third week of January highlights a deep trust deficit between the government and the Army.
In his latest blog, Mr. Advani maintains that the report is “extremely alarming” and suggests that the government-Army relations are at an “all-time low.”
His opinion is in contrast to the position of his party. It had said that it was re-assured by the emphatic denials from the government and the Army.
While on one hand, Mr. Advani terms the media report “extremely alarming,”on the other he says he is relieved that the daily has taken pains to dispel emphatically any sinister meaning being read into the story.
Mr. Advani observes that the report reminds him of an incident immediately after the Congress lost in the 1989 general election. “My friend and neighbour, Vijai Kapoor, former Lt. Governor of the Union Territory of Delhi, met me and narrated to me how in 1989, following the defeat of Rajiv Gandhi's government, the then Home Minister Buta Singh initiated a serious move to call in the Army and how it was aborted.”
Quoting from the autobiography of the then Lt. Governor of Delhi Romesh Bhandari, he says that there was indeed a move to rope in the Army to ward off any trouble from possible march of supporters of Ajit Singh from Haryana and western U.P. to the Capital.
Mr. Bhandari had noted in his book that one night he received a call from Buta Singh about rumours of about lakhs of farmers from Haryana and western U.P. being mobilised by Mr. Ajit Singh and others to march into Delhi in a bid to gherao Parliament and Rashtrapati Bhavan to force Rajiv Gandhi to dissolveParliament without which a new government could not be formed.
“Buta Singh said that Parliament was being dissolved, but there were the legal aspects I have mentioned above. He said that I must take immediate preventive measures and ensure that no law and order situation arose till then. We could not permit such an invasion of Delhi,” he had said.
According to Mr. Bhandari, the Delhi Police, the Intelligence Bureau and the Home Ministry denied knowledge of any such movement towards Capital. “This is all that happened. Madan Lal Khurana projected this as an unsuccessful effort on my part to call in the Army. He should know better that no Governor, Lt. Governor or Chief Minister can call in the armed forces by himself. It has to be routed through the Defence Ministry.”