A day after Rahul Gandhi accused Narendra Modi of lowering the morale of armed forces by creating hurdles in the implementation of One Rank, One Pension (OROP) scheme, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday retorted that the Indian armed forces dwell in the Prime Minister’s heart and asked the Congress vice-president not to waste his time with something he is not concerned about.
“In the Prime Minister’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ speech, he dedicated this Diwali to our soldiers. His effort was to reach to the army’s heart. So, Rahul Gandhi need not worry about the welfare of our army. The Indian Army resides in Narendra Modi’s heart. Since Independence, Congress did not do anything for the welfare of the army. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s prime concern is to redress the concern of our armed forces,” BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain told ANI.
In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister yesterday, Gandhi asserted that the decisions taken over the last few weeks by the government have adversely affect the morale of the armed forces, adding that it was the government’s duty to show the soldiers, who risk their lives each day to defend the nation, that they are cared for.
“Just days after our soldiers conducted the surgical strikes, the disability pension system was converted to a new slab system, that in many instances drastically reduces the pension received by these brave men in case of a disability. The roll out of the 7th Pay Commission continues to keep our defence forces at a disadvantage and further exacerbates the disparity between them and civil employees,” the letter read.
Further accusing the government of downgrading the status of military officers vis a vis their civilian counterparts in a letter dated October 18, 2016, Gandhi stated the OROP implemented by the ruling dispensation does not fully meet the genuine demands of the ex-servicemen, adding they have been forced to come out on the streets to make their voice heard on this vital issue.
“As a responsible democracy we must make sure that the brave soldiers who put their lives on the line for each one of us, feel the love, support and gratitude of 125 crore people. I, therefore, urge you Prime Minister to ensure that our soldiers get their due whether it is regarding compensation, disability pension or parity with civil employees,” he said.
The Congress vice president also emphasized that the anomalies in the 7th Pay Commission must be addressed at the earliest, as soldiers should not have to struggle to claim what is surely due to them on behalf of a grateful nation. “As we celebrate Diwali, and rejoice in the victory of light over darkness, let us send this message to our soldiers that our gratitude is expressed both in words and in need. This is the very least we owe to those who give up their today to secure our tomorrow,” the letter concluded.