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Candle marches can’t wash sins of Congress: BJP  

Amused by the fact that leaders of the Congress party in Jammu region have conducted series of candle marches to express their solidarity with the ex-servicemen on the issue of One Rank One Pension (OROP), Brig Anil Gupta, State Spokesperson of Bharatiya Janata Party has questioned the sincerity of these leaders and termed the current phase of sympathy with the veterans as opportunistic and mere politicking over the death of an ex-Subedar. The JCO’s suicide is unfortunate but to use his death for scoring political brownies is unethical according to Brig Gupta. They are also misleading the public by referring to the deceased JCO as martyr while the whole nation knows that he committed suicide for a mistake committed by his bankers in crediting the arrears of OROP.

The Congress Party owes an explanation to the nation wherein it needs to clarify as to why the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi reduced the pension of soldiers from 70% to 50 % in 1973? Was it the Congress Party’s way of rewarding the bravery and sacrifices of Indian soldiers who had won for the nation greatest military victory of the cold-war era in December 1971. It is the Congress government in 1973 that had promised OROP to compensate the reduction in pension. Why they did not fulfil their promise made to the veterans for four decades, questioned Brig Gupta?

Elaborating further Brig Gupta reminded the Congress leaders that their Party had included grant of OROP in their manifesto of 2004 and ruled for two consecutive terms (10 Years) thereafter without implementing it.  In 2008, the then Defence Minister AK Antony had stated that UPA government has not found it practical to implement OROP.  Moreover, when the Veterans surrendered their medals to the President in 2009 none of the Congress leaders expressed any sympathies with them or did anything about OROP. The Congress leaders conveniently forget the response of the UPA government when Koshiyari Committee Report on the subject was tabled in the Parliament in 2011- “Not possible because of administrative, financial and legal implications of the OROP scheme.” The Congress Party’s recently discovered concern for veterans is because of the fact that the Modi government kept its promise and implemented the OROP scheme which these leaders are unable to digest. Not only OROP, successive Congress governments since independence are responsible for harming the interests of the soldiers related to pay and status. Congress governments failed to address the anomalies of various pay commissions 4th, 5th and 6th passing them on to the present government, highlighted Brig Gupta.

The Modi government is trying its best to address the issues concerning salary and status of the soldiers as well as veterans. The political opportunism being displayed by the Congress has been seen through by the veterans according to the BJP spokesperson.