New Delhi, December 18
The Congress and the Left questioned on Sunday the appointment of the new army chief by superseding two officers, saying all recent appointments by the government have been controversial.
The development came a day after Vice Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat was named as the new chief of the army to succeed General Dalbir Singh Suhaag.
Air Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, a fighter pilot, was chosen as the new chief of the air force to replace Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha.
The appointment of Rawat, a counterinsurgency specialist, raised eyebrows among Opposition parties because he was given the job ahead of two more senior candidates.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said every institution has its own dynamics, hierarchy and seniority which is the overriding dynamic of the armed forces not only in India but everywhere in the world.
“With all due respect to Gen Rawat’s professionalism and no personal animus towards anybody, there is a legitimate question that why has that supersession taken place,” he said.
Arguing that Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen Praveen Bakshi and Southern Army Command chief Lt Gen PM Hariz are senior to Lt Gen Rawat, Tewari questioned why this supersession has taken place.
He said now the argument the government will give that Congress did supersession in the 80s and, therefore it has the right to do so is a “complete nonsense”.
“Every situation has its own context and, therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify a supersession. So, therefore the government needs to answer this legitimate question as to why these senior army commanders were superseded,” he said.
“Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason and I guess the army being a public institution the country deserves those answers,” Tewari said. CPI leader D Raja also questioned the government’s move and said appointments have become controversial. “Appointments in the army have become controversial, the appointments in the judiciary are already controversial, the appointments of CVCs, CBI director and to Central Information Commission, all these top-level appointments are becoming very controversial,” he said. Terming this as “very unfortunate”, Raja said it is not in the interest of democracy and the country. He said there should be transparency and transparency should go along with integrity and nobody should raise questions. “But now questions are being raised,” he added. A spokesperson for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), however, said it was not a matter for political debate. “The government appoints people to the office based on what it considers to be the most appropriate choice,” GVL Narasimha Rao said.
New Delhi, December 18