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