With former Army Chief V.K. Singh joining BJP, political parties on Saturday demanded that government frame rules for ‘cooling off’ period for officials, who wish to affiliate with political parties after retirement, even as Congress downplayed the development.
Reacting sharply to Gen Singh’s decision, Samajwadi Party sought a ban on bureaucrats and other officials joining political parties for a period of ten years after their retirement.
The Samajwadi Party national general secretary Naresh Agarwal alleged that a section of bureaucrats start “compromising” at the fag end of their career due to political pressure and for better prospects.
Former JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari disapproved of the former Army Chief’s move.
“I would have opined the same had he joined Congress party,” Mr. Tiwari said, while urging the Government to enact laws to curb such post-retirement moves by officials.
But Congress said it was not surprised by the development.
“He (Singh) is a free man in a free country,” party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said.
Another Congress leader Rashid Alvi said it was a known fact that the former Army Chief would be joining BJP.
But, Gen. Singh joining the principal opposition party has raised question over his earlier perspective as a former army chief, he claimed.
However, BJP defended Gen. Singh’s decision, saying he had opted for politics in a democratic way.
“He was not an Army Chief when he joined politics.... We have many generals in BJP and they guide us from various defence issues,” party spokesman Prakash Javadekar said.