Shortly after Finance Minister P. Chidambaram announced the acceptance of the long-standing demand of ex-servicemen for “one rank, one pension,” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi who recently intervened with the government on their behalf, described the decision as “historic.”

“A number of delegations met me on the one-rank, one-pension [issue] in the last many days. All of them said it was a very necessary and historic step. Our forces are always ready to fight for the nation and people... It is our duty that we provide them all support,” he told journalists.

Thanking the government, the Prime Minister and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for taking this “historic step,” Mr. Gandhi said: “Our government is fully behind them.”

On February 14, Mr. Gandhi met a delegation of ex-servicemen from Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab. “I am on your side,” he told them. “I understand your concerns. You give your life for the country, I will do all that I can to see that your demands are met.”

Even as Opposition MPs tried to puncture Mr. Gandhi’s role, saying the decision had already been taken at the time he intervened with the government, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said: “It is a good decision. It was taken following the initiative of Rahul Gandhi.”

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