BJP inducts seven ex-servicemen

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who accompanied the veterans during their induction in the party said can guide on policies on national security and nation-building. File photo

As BJP focus on national security deepens in the advanced stages of Lok Sabha polls, the party on Saturday inducted seven retired officers of the armed forces, including two former deputy chiefs of Army staff. 

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who accompanied the veterans during their induction in the party said can guide on policies on national security and nation-building.

In its press statement, the BJP said, “coming out in support of Bharatiya Janata Party’s policy on national security, seven veterans of Indian Army and Air Force today joined the party. They highly appreciated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his dynamic leadership and patriotism. The pace with which development work is going in India under Modi government is really very impressive,. The officers said they are impressed with the vision of BJP National President  Amit Shah. The veterans who joined the party and pledged their allegiance to the BJP and offered their services.”

Ex-servicemen are in substantial numbers in various states including Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand., Assam, Nagaland and Haryana. In the first week of April too, odd a dozen ex-servicemen had also joined the BJP in Uttarakhand, which has a population of around 10 lakh ex-servicemen. BJP has a special party wing dedicated to them there.

Both Congress and BJP have aggressively wooed the ex-servicemen during polls. Rahul Gandhi had a fortnight back also promised to give lateral entry to ex-servicemen in civil services and open up the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) to them if voted to power.

 

Ahead of 2014 Lok Sabha polls, former Army Chief General V K Singh had joined the BJP, who was later inducted into Union Council of Ministers. One Rank One Pension (OROP) for ex-servicemen was a big poll issue in 2014 Lok Sabha polls for which both Congress and BJP now claim the credit.

Those who joined the BJP on Saturday are Lt Gen JBS Yadav and Lt Gen S K Patyal, ex-deputy chiefs of the army staff, former director general of military intelligence Lt Gen R N Singh, former director general of army's information services and IT Lt Gen Sunit Kumar and Lt Gen Nitin Kohli, who served as the signal officer-in-chief at the Army headquarters.

 Joining the party, Yadav said the country is in "safe and able hands" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

 Colonel R K Tripathi, who has served as judge advocate general corps headquarters, and Wing Commander (retd) Navneet Magon, a former Air Force medical services doctor, also joined the BJP

Earlier last week Congress had made public a report on national security prepared by a task force set by the party and headed by Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda. Hooda had overseen 2016 surgical strike carried by Indian Army against Pakistan after Uri terror attack.

Presenting the report on April 21, Hooda had said said the issue was important but it would be "completely wrong" to say that it was dominating the poll narrative, while  Congres had said that it was broad outline of how to approach the issue of national security and that its approach towards national security is "not ad hoc and not impulsive", a veiled criticism of Modi government’s handling of national security.

Ex-servicemen had overwhelmingly supported the BJP in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Defence personnel otherwise also considered a strong support base of the BJP.

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