Sharply criticising the government for the way in which the controversy over the age of Army Chief General V K Singh was being handled,the BJP on Thursday said the issue should not have been allowed to come into the public domain.
An issue involving the Army Chief should have been sorted out expeditiously and in a closed door manner, said Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley. Its a case which reflects that the government has taken leave of statecraft, he added,suggesting that the governments approach clearly lacked finesse and tact.
Contending that the government should be mindful of the consequences of delay on such a sensitive issue,Jaitley said: The country cannot allow to have it prolonged and thrown into public domain. I only wish the government realises the implication of prolonging the issue.
Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh had earlier come out in support of Gen Singh on the matter and had written to the Defence Minister to resolve the matter keeping the dignity of the armed forces in mind. Jaitley,however,refused to join issue on the stand taken by Amarinder Singh,saying he did not want to politicise the issue.
Jaitleys comments come a day after the Army Chief sought to calm matters down on the controversy and told The Indian Express that he has no confrontation with the government on the matter and that the thought of going to court has not yet crossed his mind.
The General also said that he had not thought of going to court over the matter yet. A PIL on the matter is pending before the apex court and is expected to come up for hearing in the next two weeks.
The controversy over the officers age arose when files were being moved to approve Singhs appointment as an Army Commander. It came to light that the Army had two different dates of birth in records. While the Adjutant Generals branch,the Armys official record keeper,showed it as May 10,1951,the Military Secretarys branch,in charge of promotions and postings,reflected the date as May 10,1950 in some of its documents.