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General V K Singh joins BJP, sends notice to Shinde

March 01, 2014 16:18 IST

Former Indian Army chief General V K Singh on Saturday joined the Bharatiya Janata Party and claimed that it was the only "nationalist" party in India.

General Singh, who joined the BJP along with a number of other former servicemen in the presence of party president Rajnath Singh, said the troops should support the party so that a "stable, strong and nationalist" government is formed.

"I se only the BJP as nationalist party," he said while explaining his reason for joining the party.

"We, who have served on borders, should work with nationalist forces. So, we have decided to work with the BJP to bring in a government which is stable, strong and takes decisions in the national interest,” said the 63-year-old who retired from the top post in May 2012.

He expressed confidence that the enthusiasm of the servicemen will make BJP stronger.

Welcoming him to the BJP, Rajnath Singh said if the saffron party comes to power, it will take good care of the armed forces.

He used the occasion to attack the United Progressive Alliance government, saying it has not looked after the armed forces well. In this context, he cited the recent mishaps involving the navy.

The BJP chief also attacked the government over ceasefire violations by Pakistan, including beheading of two Indian soldiers, and intrusions by China.

The BJP chief also attacked the government over the 'one-rank, one-pension' decision, saying it had come too late.

He said it was BJP veteran L K Advani who had first raised the demand and the UPA government had accepted it only at the time of the elections.

Stressing the need for the indigenous production of weapons, he wondered if India could send a spacecraft to Mars, why could it not produce defence equipment for its own military.

He said the country does not have a war memorial and promised that the BJP would build one if it comes to power.

General Singh's tenure as the army chief was marked by a controversy over his age. He became the first serving chief to drag the government to the Supreme Court over the issue.

The dispute over his age arose because he had two sets of date of birth -- May 10,1950 and May 10,1951 -- in his official records.

The Union government had recognised 1950 as his official date while General Singh insisted that it should be 1951, which would give him 10 months more in service.

Soon after retirement, General Singh had adopted an anti-government stance and blamed the bureaucracy and the Prime Minister's Office for troubling him during his tenure.

Meanwhile, Singh has also issued a legal notice to Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde,
threatening to drag him to court over his alleged "failure" to act upon his complaints of "sedition and treason" against certain individuals.

In the notice served to the Union home minister through his lawyer Vishwajeet Singh, the retired General said, "Why judicial intervention should not be sought in the matter against you for dereliction of duty in such a serious matter that has direct implications on India's national security."

The former chief said he had complained to Shinde on "offences of sedition, treason and violations of the official secrets act by certain individuals", referring to some media publications on the "attempted military coup" and had sought a probe into the matter.

Singh has given seven days time to Shinde to respond to his notice, failing which, he said, he will initiate legal action against him.

The alleged offences mentioned by Singh against some media personnel and army officials were related to violations under the Official Secrets Act, 1923 and the National Security Act, 1980 as also under various penal provisions of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Singh said he had issued a reminder to the home minister in December seeking a response on his previous complaint.

Shinde, however, did not respond either to the complaint or to the reminder, the notice said.

"You chose to initiate no action whatsoever upon receiving the said complaint. You further chose not to respond to my client or inform him as to the reasons for not taking any action on his complaint," it said.

Image: General V K Singh with BJP's PM candidate Narendra Modi

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