Sunday, August 30, 2015

Veterans plan OROP as Bihar election issue

Military veterans, whose protest for the implementation of the one rank, one pension scheme entered the 76th day here on Saturday, may announce holding of a rally in Patna if the government does not meet their demand by Monday. As part of “intensifying the agitation” in the absence of any favourable decision by the government by August 31, the ex-servicemen said they would launch a mass awareness campaign in Bihar against the Union government.

To more States
“Not just Bihar, we will be going to all election-bound States. We are going to tell the people when you elect your leaders, be careful and make sure they will fulfil their assurances,” Maj. Gen. Satbir Singh (Retd.) told The Hindu. “We will plan a rally in Patna at an appropriate time, we have not done it so far,” he said when asked if a possible date had been fixed. Another retired Army officer, who is part of the front, said the veterans would recalibrate their strategy based on the government’s response.

A campaign by ex-servicemen in Patna ahead of the Bihar elections is likely to have political implications for the NDA combine that is pitched in a direct battle with the Janata Dal (U)-Rashtriya Janata Dal-Congress coalition. The Congress-led UPA had announced OROP, and the BJP had announced implementing it as an election promise. The unfulfilled promise could hurt the BJP which counts a large proportion of ex-servicemen among its supporters. Members of the United Front for Ex-servicemen, which has been agitating at Jantar Mantar here, have hardened their stance after talks failed with the Army chief and PMO officials on Thursday night.