Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of lying on the issue of ‘one rank one pension’, stating that the promise made to the ex-servicemen has remained unfulfilled.
“What the PM says is One Rank-One Pension is actually pension enhancement and not OROP. The PM should stop lying on the issue,” he told reporters after meeting a delegation of retired defence personnel protesting at Jantar Mantar. He termed OROP “the right” of retired servicemen which the government “will have to give”.
He said the ex-servicemen have said they would not press their demand if government does not have money for OROP.
But, Rahul added, it was not the case since Modi government had waived loans of Rs 1.10 lakh crore of 15 big industrialists and preferred to do nothing for soldiers and farmers. “There used to be a slogan of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan. But neither the farmer not the jawans are getting money. Neither the farmer nor the ex-servicemen are respected,” he added.
Questioning the PM’s announcement that the government has implemented OROP, Rahul asked, “If it had, why have these ex-servicemen been protesting for the last 509 days at Jantar-Mantar?” The unbroken focus on OROP indicates that Congress has decided to keep the focus on the vexed pension scheme, believing it has the potential to trouble the Modi government in the wake of ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal‘s suicide.
Rahul’s visit to RML hospital after the suicide, followed by his presence at Grewal‘s funeral on Thursday, all resulting in his police detention, have geared Congress towards agitational mode.
Congress is likely to ratchet up pressure on OROP during the winter session of Parliament starting mid-November. Rahul demanded an apology from the government for “unacceptable treatment” meted out by police to Grewal’s family.