The CPI(M) on Thursday sought the resignation of Union minister V.K. Singh or his removal from the Council of Ministers for his “open opposition” to the appointment of the new Army chief.
“This new BJP Minister of State questioned the appointment of the Army chief-designate and publicly tweeted accusing the new Army chief... of ‘killing innocents’, indulging in ’dacoity’, ‘protecting criminals’ etc,” senior CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury said.
“Such severe condemnations by a former Army chief, who is now a part of the Union Council of Ministers against the Army chief-designate, naturally stirred a hornets’ nest,” he said.
Mr. Yechury said an “embarrassed” BJP government had to field Defence Minister Arun Jaitley in Parliament to fully defend and back the ascendancy of the incumbent Army chief and his appointment by the earlier government.
“This is an extraordinary situation that is indeed going to test this new BJP government’s commitment to ‘good governance’,” he said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of party organ ‘People’s Democracy’.
Referring to the government’s affidavit in Supreme Court defending the new chief’s appointment, he said, “Such serious admonishing by the government of one of its own Union Ministers is untenable. The Minister concerned will either have to rescind his positions publicly or recuse himself from the Council of Ministers.”
Observing that the government’s affidavit “virtually condemns” Mr. Singh’s disciplinary action when he was the Army chief by stating that it was ‘without any basis or material on record’, Mr. Yechury said, “This new BJP government cannot hope to continue to go on with ‘business as usual’ approach unless this is resolved.
“Can it continue to retain this Minister in the Union Cabinet? Its commitment to good governance is thus under critical scrutiny,” Mr. Yechury said.
Terming the government’s pronouncements on ‘good governance’ as “suspect”, Mr. Yechury said the President’s speech in Parliament was merely a compilation of the BJP-led coalition’s election slogans and not its priorities.
Noting that the government has begun to “govern in a manner that sends very ominous signals”, the CPI(M) leader said it had “bypassed” Parliament by issuing ordinances, not granting opportunity for meaningful debate in the House and holding “probably the shortest session in recent memory”.
The three-day session was one “that transacted no business normally associated with parliamentary proceedings other than the motion of thanks to the President’s address,” he said, adding that the BJP government has “begun to govern in a manner that sends very ominous signals”.