Former Naval chief approaches EC against Yogi's remark

Former Naval chief approaches EC against Yogi's remark

An anguished former Naval chief L Ramdas has written to Election Commission taking objection to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath's describing Army as "Modi-ji ki Sena", saying armed forces are "not a private force".

In a letter to Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Ramdas urged the Election Commission to take "suitable action" as soon as possible to arrest such "irresponsible actions".

Ramdas, who had earlier written to the EC on March 6 about the politicisation of the military after Balakot air strike, has said that Adityanath's statement was "exactly the kind of development I was fearing when I wrote to you last month".

Addressing an election rally in Uttar Pradesh's Ghaziabad on Monday, Adityanath said, "Congress would feed 'biryani' to terrorists, while Modi's army (Modi-ji ki Sena) gives them bullets and bombs.

"As one of the senior most former Chiefs of the Armed Forces, I consider it my duty and responsibility to bring to your notice the fact that we, the armed forces of the country, owe our allegiance only to the Constitution of India...The Armed Forces are not a private force belonging to any individual or political party, and therefore any suggestion to that effect is completely unacceptable," he said in the letter sent on Monday.

The Election Commission had on Monday also asked the district magistrate of Ghaziabad to submit a report on the issue so that it can be checked whether there was any violation of Model Code of Conduct as it has already asked political parties to "desist" during their Lok Sabha poll campaigns from indulging in any propaganda involving defence forces.

Earlier, Lt Gen (Retd) H S Panag had said that the comments did not come as a surprise as such remarks have been made by politicians over the last five years in an attempt to link nationalism with the armed forces. "Such comments lead to politicisation of the Army," he said. However, Panag maintained that the Army remains apolitical.

The Election Commission had earlier issued advisories to political parties asking them to desist from using armed forces in campaigns. It had also disapproved of certain BJP leaders using the picture of Wing Commander Abhinandan, who was captured by Pakistan Army and later released, in posters.