Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other members of his party on Wednesday walked out of a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence, alleging that the panel's time was being wasted in discussing armed forces' uniform instead of the crucial issue of national security, sources said.
Gandhi was disallowed to speak at the meeting by the panel chairman and Bharatiya Janata Party MP Jual Oram when he sought to raise the issues of Chinese aggression and better equipping the soldiers at the border in Ladakh, they said.
The sources said the issue of uniforms of the army, the navy and the air force was being discussed in the presence of the Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat when Gandhi intervened to say that instead of discussing this, the political leadership should discuss the issues of national security and how to strengthen the forces who are fighting the Chinese in Ladakh.
A presentation on the colour of uniforms in the army, the navy and the air force was being made to the committee when a BJP member called for uniformity in the uniform colour of the three forces as in the United States.
However, the former Congress chief said the army, the navy and the air force should decide what the colour of their uniform should be, and not the politicians.
"The politicians should have no business to tell the army, the navy or the air force which uniform to wear and it is neither their jurisdiction nor domain and should not belittle them or insult them.
"The political leadership should instead provide hot tents, boots and equip the soldiers who are braving out at the border and are fighting the Chinese in Ladakh," Gandhi was quoted as saying at the meeting.
According to the sources, Gandhi said, "The leadership should also focus on how to push back the enemy and support and strengthen the armed forces rather than dictating the colour of their uniforms."
This led to a heated exchange at the meeting.
The committee chairman did not allow Gandhi to speak further, following which the Congress leader decided to walk out, the sources said, adding party members Rajeev Satav and Revanth Reddy also left the meeting along with their leader.
Gandhi has been attacking the government over the issue of Chinese aggression.
The BJP, however, had hit back, saying the Congress leader had been skipping the meetings of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence.