First retd service chief in govt

First retd service chief in govt

First retd service chief in govt

Controversial former Army chief Gen V K Singh on Monday became the first retired military head to enter the Lok Sabha after he was sworn into office by President Pranab Mukherjee as minister of state (independent charge).

Singh, who dragged the UPA-II government to the Supreme Court on an issue concerning his age, won the recent Lok Sabha elections after beating Congress rival Raj Babbar in Ghaziabad constituency by a whopping 5.67 lakh votes, second only to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s winning margin in Vadodara.

While Singh will be the second former Army chief to enter Parliament, he is the first in the Lok Sabha.

Gen Shankar Roychowdhury, Army chief between 1994 and 1997, became an independent member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005. In 2009, another former service chief, Air Marshal A Y Tipnis, considered contesting the Lok Sabha polls on a BJP ticket, but ultimately backtracked and did not take the plunge into active politics.

Besides a raging controversy on his date of birth, Singh’s tenure as Army chief was marred by his leaking a sensitive letter addressed to then prime minister Manmohan Singh, besides a disciplinary and vigilance ban he imposed on Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag, who was slated to succeed him.

The ban on Lt Gen Suhag was later removed by Gen Bikram Singh, who  took over as Army chief.

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