Questioning Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi’s “recently discovered concern” for defence veterans, Rajya Sabha MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar said his repeated letters to the UPA government and top Congress leaders on OROP had been ignored.
Chandrasekhar, in a four-page-long open letter, said he wrote five letters to then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh between 2010 to 2012, twice to United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi in 2011, four times to then Defence Minister between 2010 and 2012 and to Rahul Gandhi in 2011.
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“… All of them were met with either a ‘can’t do it’ or a stony silence,” claimed the Independent member from Karnataka.
“I had first written to you on OROP and other Armed Forces related issues way back in 2011, but you neither replied to it not took any action. It probably wasn’t politically ‘interesting’ enough for you then. It took you years to even mention and get to that issue – and even then it was only before election 2014 as a pre-poll election stunt,” he said.
“Perhaps you also need to be reminded that in 2008 the then Defence Minister A.K. Antony stated that the UPA government had not found the OROP demand acceptable,” the letter said.
Chandrasekhar said he accepted “the premise that yours may be a case of belated wisdom and compassion dawning” but said it was “a bit trite to assume that past records of political parties will be forgotten and that the country doesn’t realise how far we have come in the cause of serving and repaying our veterans in the past two years compared to the past four decades”.
The letter comes on a day when Congress held a protest march against “disrespect” to the family of an ex-Indian Army Subedar Ram Kishen Grewal, who committed suicide on Tuesday. Rahul Gandhi was stopped by Delhi Police at the venue.
Gandhi said he was “detained”, but police said they just stopped him.
Grewal committed suicide by consuming poison on Tuesday. He had come to Delhi to raise issues related to OROP and pensions and wanted to meet Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar.