‘All of us from the Forces want to work for a party that believes in nation-building’

Former Army Chief Gen.(retired) V.K. Singh put to end all speculation on his political alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday when he, along with several former army, navy and air force officials, was welcomed into the party fold.

Amid loud cheering from his supporters who had gathered at the party headquarters here, Gen. Singh explained why he and his defence colleagues chose the BJP.

“It is the only party that is nationalistic and thinks of the national interest. All of us from the Forces want to work for a party that believes in nation-building and protecting national interests, we want to aid in the formation of a stable and a powerful government,” he said.

BJP president Rajanth Singh, who welcomed Gen. Singh into the party, trained his guns on the Congress-led UPA Government for failing to address the concerns of the armed forces.

Citing the recent submarine accident as an example of government's apathy, he said: “I am ashamed of the submarine accident and to think it was caused by faulty batteries makes us question what is wrong with the government. Our entire security system has holes...”

Mr. Singh criticised the government for failing to take action against border intrusions and said the Army must be given a free hand to tackle ceasefire violations and infiltration.

“Pakistan violates ceasefire, enters the territory, beheads our soldiers...our disciplined force is being taken undue advantage of. China too has violated ceasefire and our Prime Minister went ahead to sign an agreement in Beijing. This country is in danger and it needs a man of steel like Narendra Modi to lead it,” he said.

Promising upgrade and modernisation of the armed forces, the BJP leader said he would propose the setting up of an ex-servicemen’s welfare commission to Mr. Modi when he became Prime Minister.

“All these former officials who have joined the BJP today have been submitting reports to the government over the need to upgrade and modernise the Army, but no attention has been paid. I feel guilty that these people are not respected and their morale is dipping,” Mr. Singh said, adding that the country still did not have a war memorial to honour its heroes.

He also made a pitch for manufacturing weapons indigenously rather than allow purchases from abroad. “Why can’t the country that has built the Mars Orbiter Mission, Mangalyaan, manufacture weapons? There needs to be transparency in the purchase of weapons.”

The BJP chief said it was party patriarch L.K. Advani who first raised the issue of ‘one rank, on pension’ in Parliament.

Clarification

Referring to an earlier version of the report above, Sarbajit Roy, national convenor of India Against Corruption has pointed out that BJP's candidate from Ghaziabad Gen (Retd.) V.K. Singh has never been associated with India Against Corruption.

"Gen (Retd.) V.K.Singh was never associated with India Against Corruption and neither was Mr. Anna Hazare a part of it. Referring to them in the context of IAC is misleading especially in context of political activity," Mr. Roy has said.

More In: National | News