One Rank One Pension (OROP) and Pay Commission would be the main issues considered by the ex-servicemen community of the state while casting their votes in the upcoming general elections, said ex-servicemen of the state.
Uttarakhand which has been contributing significantly to the armed forces of the country, has a 1.26 lakh strong ex-servicemen community. Among them, 70,318 are in Garhwal division while 56,222 are in Kumaon region.
“The present government says that it has implemented OROP, but in reality it is still One Rank Five Pension. It has not been implemented till date. Personnel retired from the same rank in different years are still getting different pensions,” said Naik (retired), Arun Khatri adding that “This year too I would opt for NOTA.”
He added, “Not only OROP would be a major issue for us, but the Pay Commission too. The last Pay Commission had just doubled the income but the one implemented during the tenure of this government made of difference of just Rs 1,500-2,000.”
Agreeing with Khatri, Colonel (retd) Arun Sarin said, “The two issues are definitely going to be the major ones for the ex-servicemen community here.”
“On OROP, every government including the present NDA government have just made false promises but not implemented it fully. The present government had promised to implement OROP fully but after coming to power has just played with figures only,” he said.
He added, “On several occasions, they have claimed that, they have disbursed about Rs 30,000cr but in reality it has not been paid fully. It was for just an instalment. Nothing concrete so far. The anomalies in the Pay Commission should also be settled.”
“They should specify what they have done in this regard rather than just trying to put curtain on the real issue by presenting figures.”
Another ex-serviceman, also of the rank of Colonel who didn’t want to be named, claimed, “Not only the two issues but the treatment meted out by BJP to its sitting MP of Pauri Garhwal, Major General (retd) BC Khanduri would also have an impact on the vote of ex-servicemen in state.”
“Khanduri is considered to be of a clean image, but the way he has been sidelined by BJP has definitely not gone unnoticed by the ex-servicemen here. It would surely have an impact on their votes,” he said adding that he neither supports BJP nor Congress.
Aware of the importance of the vote bank of ex-servicemen in the state, state unit in-charge of Congress, Anugrah Narayan Singh, said, “The party has a strategy in place to lure the vote bank.”
“After the episode pertaining to Maj Gen (retd) Khanduri, there is definitely angst among the ex-servicemen in the state which would be utilised by Congress to turn their votes towards the party,” he said.
“We have spoken to many of the retired personnel who have said that what was done to Khanduri by BJP was wrong and would have implications in polls.”
Saying that the ex-servicemen would vote only for Bharatiya Janata Party, state spokesperson Devendra Bhasin said, “Our government has done significant works regarding OROP in comparison to Congress which did nothing for the last 40 years. The retired personnel of armed forces know this very well and would vote for BJP only.”
Mar 27, 2019 17:15 IST