Cong demands govt. explanation on Army Chief's appointment

| Updated: Dec 19, 2016 21:14 IST

New Delhi,[India] Dec. 19 (ANI): In the wake of the ongoing controversy surrounding the appointment of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the next Army Chief, the Congress Party on Monday escalated its attack on the government while stating that this move would bring down the morale of the army top brass. Congress leader Ashwani Kumar, however, said that the selection of Army Chief is the government's prerogative. The former union minister said it has never happened since 1983 that seniority has been disregarded the way it has been disregarded this time. "It would demoralize the army top brass because there are certain conventions that are always followed and particularly when it comes to the appointment of the Chief of (Army) Staff which is an extremely important appointment and the Congress Party has always adhered to seniority rule," Kumar told ANI. "This exception that now is being done has not been satisfactorily justified by the government," he added. Another Congress leader Meem Afzal asked as to why the other two contenders were sidelined, adding the government needs to put forth an explanation in this regard. "There is a difference in asking question and raising objections, we never questioned the credibility of the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff," he said. On Saturday, the government announced the name of Lt. Gen. Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of Army Staff and Air Marshal B.S. Dhanoa as the new Chief of Air Staff. Lt.Gen. Rawat, who took over as Vice-Chief of Army Staff in September 2016, bypassed Eastern Commander Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi (Armoured Corps) and Southern Commander Lt. Gen. P.M. Hariz (Mechanised Infantry) to bag the coveted post. Lieutenant General Rawat has remarkable experience of serving in combat areas and at various functional levels in the Indian Army over the last three decades. The Army veterans on Sunday came to the rescue of the government, which has been drawing flak post the decision to appoint Lt. Gen. Rawat as the next army chief, and said that seniority was not the only aspect taken into consideration prior to making an appointment for such a coveted post. (ANI)