Opp Slams Govt On COAS Appointment, Govt Hits Back


Update: Lt General Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed as the next Chief of Army Staff, was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganized and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East: Ministry Of Defence.

New Delhi: The Congress and other Opposition parties slammed the Narendra Modi government on Saturday for appointing Lt General Bipin Rawat as the new army chief.

The Congress asked why the Centre did not follow the seniority principle in appointing Lt Gen Rawat, said a report in Hindustan Times.

“Why has Seniority not been respected in Aptt.of Army Chief?Why have Lt Gen PRAVIN Bakshi & Lt Gen Mohamed Ali Hariz been superseded Mr PM?” former Union minister and Congress leader Manish Tewari said on Twitter.

Tewari claimed that Lt Gen Rawat is “not third but fourth senior most. Even Lt Gen BS Negi army commander Central Command is senior to him”. He also said that he ‘hoped and prayed’ that the disregard for seniority that the Centre had shown in this case would not be repeated through ‘suppression’ of other institutions like the Supreme Court.

However, there is precedent to appointing a new army chief by superseding seniors. In the early 1980s, Lt Gen SK Sinha was overlooked in the appointment of Gen AS Vaidya as the army chief, during the regime of Indira Gandhi.

The Left, too, questioned Rawat’s appointment, said the report. CPI(M) politburo member Mohammad Salim said: “Generally, we never comment on issues related to the armed forces. But it seems that the government is trying to change the traditions and norms of India’s major institutions.”

The names of news chiefs are conventionally announced 2-3 months before an incumbent retires. But this time the next appointments have come barely a fortnight before the incumbents retire, said the report.

Rawat succeeds General Dalbir Singh Suhag, and will be the second consecutive chief from the Gorkha Rifles.