Controversy over armed forces veterans’ letter to President against politicisation of military in Lok Sabha polls

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More than 150 armed forces veterans have reportedly written to President Ram Nath Kovind expressing their disgust over the blatant politicisation of the armed forces by the BJP in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. The signatories of the petition, according to Times of India and several other newspapers, include eight former chiefs of the Indian armed forces including three former army chiefs, four former naval chiefs and a former air force chief.

armed forces

Their letter said, “We write to bring to your attention, as the Supreme Commander of India’s Armed Forces, some concerns which have caused considerable alarm and disquiet among both the serving and the retired personnel of our Forces.”

The letter added, “We refer, Sir, to the unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross-border strikes, and even going so far as to claim the Armed Forces to be“Modi ji ki Sena”. This is in addition to media pictures of election platforms and campaigns in which party workers are seen wearing military uniforms; and posters and images with pictures of soldiers and especially of Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, displayed.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his party colleague, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath and BJP President Amit Shah have come under flak from several quarters for seeking votes by invoking the heroics of the armed forces. Adityanath was even rebuked by the Election Commission for his Modi ji ki sena comments, but the national poll body refused to take any punitive action. Modi and Shah have not even faced any censure from the Election Commission.

However, two former service chiefs have denied giving their consent to this letter. General SF Rodrigues who is mentioned as the first signatory in the letter below, told news agency ANI that he did not sign this letter.

Air Chief Marshal NC Suri also was quoted by ANI, “To put an end to it,I wrote that armed forces are apolitical&support the politically elected govt. And no, my consent has not been taken for any such letter. I don’t agree with whatever has been written in that letter. We have been misquoted.”

The Rashtrapati Bhawan too, according to media reports, denied receiving any such letter.
But former Army Chief Gen Shankar Roy Choudhury termed the letter genuine and told India Today that the letter was the need of the hour since all constitutional bodies including the Election Commission of India had been destroyed.
Major General Harsha Kakkar, another signatory of the letetr, too said that it had his support. He told ANI, “This letter has my support too. It also has my name, endorsed by me. Every political party is asking for votes using armed forces, by taking their names – be it Yogi, Urmila, Kejriwal, Kumaraswamy or Farooq Abdullah. Their comments are only for votes.”

Earlier this week, 66 former bureaucrats had also written to  Presdident Kovind complaining about the biased functioning of the Election Commission.

Here are signatories of the letter, as reported by Firstpost:

1

Gen SF Rodrigues, PVSM,VSM

2

Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury, PVSM,ADC

3

Gen Deepak Kapoor, PVSM, AVSM,SM,VSM,ADC

4

Adm Laxminarayan Ramdas, PVSM,AVSM,VrC, VSM,ADC

5

Adm Vishnu Bhagwat,PVSM,AVSM

6

Adm Arun Prakash, PVSM,AVSM,VrC,VSM,ADC

7

Adm Sureesh Mehta, PVSM,AVSM

8

Air Chief Marshal NC Suri,PVSM,AVSM,VM,ADC

9

Lt Gen Sanjeev Anand

10

Lt General KS Rao, PVSM, SC, SM, Arjuna Awardee

11

Lt General Mohan Ramdas

12

Lt General YN Sharma

13

Lt General Vinay Shankar

14

Lt General Prakash Gokarn

15

Lt General Vijay Oberoi, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

16

Lt General MA Gurbaxani, PVSM, AVSM

17

Lt General RK Nanavatty, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM

18

Lt General R K Gaur, PVSM

19

Lt General CA Barretto, PVSM

20

Lt General ML Naidu, PVSM, AVSM, YSM

21

Vice Admiral Madanjit Singh

22

Vice Admiral DB Kapila, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

23

Vice Admiral A Britto, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

24

Air Marshal Vir Narain, PVSM

25

Maj Gen A K Shukla

26

Maj Gen PC Panjikar, VSM

27

Maj General KM Bhimaya

28

Maj General Jose Manavalan, AVSM

29

Maj General Shiv Dev Singh

30

Maj General Mohan Singh

31

Maj General Harsha Kakar

32

Maj General Rajendra Prakash, VSM

33

Maj General GH Israni

34

Maj General Anil Sawhny, AVSM

35

Maj General IJS Dhillon

36

Maj General Kshitin Pandya, AVSM

37

Maj General TK Kaul, PVSM, AVSM, VSM

38

Maj General ML Malik

39

Maj General SG Pitre

40

Maj General SG Vombatkere, VSM

41

Rear Admiral Shankar Mathur

42

Rear Admiral Sudhir Pillai, NM

43

Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak

44

Brig A. A Ramchandani

45

Brig UPS Pathania

46

Brig Vinod Raizada

47

Brigadier VHM Prasad

48

Commodore C Jayaraj

49

Commodore Rajan Mathew, VSM

50

Commodore R Rahmathullah

51

Commodore G Kailath, AVSM, NM, VSM

52

Commodore Dinabandhu Jena

53

Commodore Jal Postwalla

54

Commodore PC Gulati, NM

55

Cmde MS Chahal

56

Air Cmde Sanjay Sharma

57

Col Bharat Haladi

58

Col Sanjeev Choudhary

59

Col Krishna Prasad N G

60

Col Mukesh Trehan

61

Col RP Suhag

62

Col Pankaj Fotedar, VSM

63

Col Vivek Mathur

64

Col Arun Hariharan

65

Col K N Singh

66

Col DM Sharma

67

Col Shantanu Majumdar,

68

Col Gurpinder Singh

69

Col Ramnik Khanna

70

Col Abhay Prasad

71

Col Abhi Chatterjee,

72

Col Manmohan Singh

73

Col. Rajiv Kanwar

74

Col Bharat Kumar

75

Col Jayadev P I

76

Col. Sujit Dutta

77

Col. Lal Kesavan

78

Col. Melwyn D’Souza

79

Col Sanjay Dilwaria

80

Col. K S Kamboj

81

Col Shashi Thoomas Kilo

82

Col K Kataria, SM

83

Col MK Keshwar

84

Col Maniish D Kachhy

85

Col. Aparjeet Nakai

86

Col CMS Babu

87

Col RS Singh

88

Capt (IN) HPS Sodhi

89

Capt (IN) Rakesh Kumar Prabhakar

90

Captain (IN) S Prabhala, VSM

91

Capt(IN) Sandeep Kapoor

92

Group Captain Ashutosh Srivastav (Retd)

93

Gp Capt Rajinder Abrol

94

Gp Capt D. V. Shukla,

95

Gp Capt Philips Jacob, VM

96

Gp Capt Satvinder Singh

97

Gp Capt Deepak Mundade

98

Gp Capt MS Sadanand

99

Lt col Arvind Kumar Singh,

100

Lt Col MS Kanwal, VSM

101

LtCol Sajan Moideen,

102

Lt Col Muruganantham

103

Lt Col Ved Prakash Sharma

104

LtCol  R Pankaj

105

Lt Col Shantanu Rishi

106

Lt Col Sanjeev Kumar Gupta

107

Lt Col SPS Panwar

108

Lt Col Neeraj Sharma

109

Lt Col Shantnu Rishi

110

Lt. Col. Gagan Khanna, DE

111

Lt Col Satish Chari

112

Lt. Col Akash Sachan

113

Lt. Col PP Singh

114

Lt Col Sandeep Chandorkar

115

Lt. Col. SS Nath

116

Lt Col JS Patil

117

Lt Col Amit P Mathur

118

Lt Col Jagjit Singh Judge

119

Lt Col RP Shankar

120

Lt Col NM Saksena

121

Lt Col Raghawendra Singh

122

Lt Col Shamsher Manhas

123

Lt Col DN Yadav

124

Lt Col Janak Raj Vatsa

125

Lt Col Rakesh Mehrotra

126

Lt Col Rajeev Rattan Kotwal

127

Cdr MCV Jose

128

Cdr KC Mahesh Giri

129

Cdr Sam T Samuel

130

Cdr Joji Tom Mundakel

131

Cdr S Manrai

132

Cdr P Pattanath

133

Cdr HS Dabas

134

Cdr Soumya Datta

135

Cdr SA Rawool

136

Cdr Sandeep Kumar

137

Cdr RK Srivastava

138

Cdr Shailesh Jain

139

Cdr Sati Taneja

140

Wg Cdr Gopal Taneja

141

Wg Cdr Sanjay Bishnoi

142

Wg Cdr Nilesh Gandhi

143

Wg Cdr Rajiv Gupta

144

Wg Cdr Sudhir Kumar Virulkar

145

Wg Cdr SK Chopra

146

Wg Cdr Sanjay Nijai

147

Wg Cdr Kuldeep Mathur

148

Wg Cdr SK Nair

149

Wg Cdr Prashant Karde

150

Maj K J Singh

151

Maj P Sirur

152

Maj Priyadarshi Chowdhury, SC

153

Sqn Ldr Narendra Prasad Uniyal

154

Capt Sandeep Shekhawat

155

S/ Lt. (IN) RC Jain

156

Lt HS Ahlawat

1 COMMENT

  1. Why petition the President? Does he have power to take any action independent of the Council of Ministers. ECI has the power to take action to ensure free and fair elections. But ECI is not acting and referring matters (e.g. HH Kalyan Singh Gov. of Raj.) to the President who in turn referred to the GoI only.

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