Rahul Gandhi steps up OROP campaign, Govt reject charges

SansadTV Bureau
New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with CWC member and former defence minister AK Antony  addressing the media after a meeting with several ex-servicemen at party headquarters in New Delhi, Nov 4, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi along with CWC member and former defence minister AK Antony addressing the media after a meeting with several ex-servicemen at party headquarters in New Delhi, Nov 4, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Keeping up the ante over One Rank One Pension (OROP) issue, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi met with several ex-servicemen at his residence on Friday afternoon. The issue of OROP has once again been raised by the Congress party after an ex-soldier, Ram Kishan Grewal, committed suicide earlier this week after being upset reportedly over his pension demands.

Attacking Centre over the emotive issue, Rahul Gandhi claimed that said that what PM is saying on One Rank One Pension is “actually pension enhancement and not OROP”.

“PM should stop lying on the issue. OROP is the right of armed forces personnel and government will have to give it,” he said after his meeting with the veterans.

The Congress vice president also demanded the government to offer an apology to the family of ex-armyman who committed suicide. Slamming Delhi police for their “high-handed conduct”, he said the deceased soldier’s kin were treated in unacceptable manner.

Protesting against the central government, Rahul Gandhi was detained thrice in the last two days.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi after the meeting of GST Council.

FILE: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi. Photo – PTI

Reacting to the Congress vice president charges, the Central government said the immediately previous Congress-led UPA government had made a provision of only Rs 500 cr for OROP, but the NDA government enhanced the amount manifolds before implementing it last year.

“The NDA government implemented OROP… Among the provisions we announced, a fitment of pension amount will be reviewed every 5 yrs as against 10 yrs for govt employees” Union Finance minister Arun Jaitley said.

The issue has been on a political boil since Wednesday as major protests broke out in the streets of New Delhi.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi was detained twice by Delhi Police as he attempted to meet ex-soldiers’ bereaved family at the RML hospital. His detention led to the series of police action as several other Congress leaders were held after impromptu protests at various places.

Gandhi had later joined Grewal’s family at the funeral in his hometown in Haryana’s Bhiwani early on Thursday morning.

New Delhi: Identity Card of  70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal who allegedly committed suicide over One Rank, One Pension scheme in New Delhi, Nov 1, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Identity Card of 70-year-old ex-serviceman Ram Kishan Grewal who allegedly committed suicide over One Rank, One Pension scheme in New Delhi, Nov 1, 2016.
Photo – PTI

On tuesday afternoon, 70-year-old Subedar (Retd) Ram Kishan Grewal, a resident of Haryana, had committed suicide by consuming poison at a park behind the Jawahar Bhavan in New Delhi, which houses the Ministry of External Affairs. According to his friends, the veteran, who served in the Army and the Defence Security Corps for 30 years, had been upset over the OROP issue for some time.

Probing the matter, Delhi Police said the Grewal, along with three of his companions, had come to the city to submit a memorandum to the Defence Ministry over the issue of OROP.

According to reports, the deceased soldier wrote his suicide note on a document he wanted to submit to the Defence Ministry. He wrote, “I am sacrificing my life for my country, my motherland and for my brave fellow jawans,” the police said.

(With inputs from the PTI)