Stop ly­ing on pen­sion is­sue, Rahul tells PM Congress us­ing the ex-soldier’s death for gains, says Jait­ley

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com HT Cor­re­spon­dent letters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Congress vice-pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi on Fri­day ac­cused Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi of “ly­ing” to the na­tion over the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a pen­sion scheme for the armed forces, ratch­et­ing up his party’s bat­tle with the BJP govern­ment over the con­tentious is­sue.

Gandhi also sought an apol­ogy from the govern­ment for po­lice man­han­dling of the fam­ily of ex-ser­vice­man Ram Kis­han Gre­wal, who com­mit­ted sui­cide on Wed­nes­day over the one rank, one pen­sion (OROP) is­sue.

The Congress leader’s sting­ing at­tack came af­ter he in­ter­acted with a group of 60-70 ex-ser­vice­men at the Congress head­quar­ters in Delhi at 24, Ak­bar Road.

“He wanted to un­der­stand the is­sue. We ap­prised him of the sub­ject and our de­mands,” said re­tired Maj Gen Sat­bir Singh of the In­dian Ex-Ser­vice­men Move­ment, which is lead­ing the fight for to­tal im­ple­men­ta­tion of OROP.

“Hope he raises our is­sue. It is the duty of ev­ery par­lia­men­tar­ian to raise the is­sue and help ex-ser­vice­men get their rights.”

At the fore­front of the ag­i­ta­tion on the is­sue fol­low­ing Gre­wal’s sui­cide, Gandhi had been de­tained thrice in two days by the Delhi po­lice dur­ing protests.

Union fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley on Fri­day hit out at the Congress for al­legedly politi­cis­ing the sui­cide of a exArmy man, say­ing “a po­lit­i­cal party with sink­ing for­tunes should not try to en­cash on the per­sonal tragedy of one per­son”.

Jait­ley said the UPA govern­ment had done lit­tle to im­ple­ment the one rank, one pen­sion (OROP) scheme for exser­vice­men dur­ing its 10-year term which was ev­i­dent from a “mea­gre” al­lo­ca­tion of `550 crore for the scheme.

He said the govern­ment sym­pa­thised with the fam­ily of Ram Kishen Gre­wal but in­sisted that he was draw­ing pen­sion un­der OROP. Jait­ley in­di­cated ad­min­is­tra­tive lapse on the part of the bank for not re­mit­ting the pen­sion he was en­ti­tled to.

“It ob­vi­ously seems to be an ad­min­is­tra­tive lapse. It is not a lapse where the OROP was not granted… Ob­vi­ously, there seems to be some (com­mu­ni­ca­tion) gap…He was given pen­sion for one part of the ser­vice and not for other part which he was le­git­i­mately en­ti­tled to,” Jait­ley said.

He at­tacked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for us­ing OROP to score po­lit­i­cal brownie points.

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