Who is working behind Army chief’s early exit and why?
Who is out to keep the government in crisis?
Who is out to besmirch reputation of potential candidates for the Presidential polls?
Everyone knows Army chief V K Singh will retire in May and will be gone. Yet, one cannot escape the feeling that someone is out to ensure that he goes early. Is there fear lurking among a group of people who want him out soon because Gen Singh may force more skeletons to stumble out of the South Block cupboards?
Why should a section of the media be endlessly fed with stories?
First, it was a leak of letter that Gen Singh wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the state of preparedness of the Army because of the inordinate delays in weapon acquisitions.
That was timed with the public outrage over Gen Singh’s assertion that an officer had approached with him a bribe offer of Rs 14 crore to clear the controversial Tantra trucks. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) concluded that the leak was not from the Army chief’s end.
A matured Defence Minister A K Antony put the issue behind and did not let the so-called “anger” of a section of the political class work to force the government’s hand to send the Gen Singh on “forced leave.” The PM concurred.
Earning all-round praise, Antony reaffirmed his faith in Gen Singh, who in turn debunked stories about his intention against the government. The situation appeared to be settling down.
But that upset the same class and its motivators in the government to come out with this yarn of Gen Singh’s alleged plan to display force in the Capital—when his dispute over the date of his birth was before the Supreme Court!
That story turned out to be rehash of an article in Rediff.com, which was about the Army’s routine exercises in and around Delhi to meet exgencies at times of fog, which is common in north India.
Naturally, the Prime Minister is angry. The Defence Minister is too livid. No wonder, Dr Manmohan Singh said it was “alarmist” and wanted everyone to put an end to a “non-issue.”
Barring one or two TV news channels, the bulk of the media saw through the game and went to trash it.
But the bigger issue is who is working behind the scenes to keep the Army’s pot boiling? Why? Are some weapon sellers and their lobbyists behind this game? Are rivals of the PM and Antony in the UPA government and the Congress party doing this to damage their image?
There are many Congress leaders who think that Antony is Sonia Gandhi’s preferred choice — if ever she wanted to chose by herself — for being the next President or Prime Minister. If Antony’s name gets further entangled in the mess inside the Defence Ministry, can she still rely on his name?
Secondly, there are business majors who are very upset with the government’s thinking on many issues ranging from the price of natural gas from offshore fields to the Vodafone tax issue. They are upset that the government won’t look askance at avoidance of capital tax by entities that shrewdly managed to hive off their operations and units abroad and then sell their assets in India. Are they out destabilise the set-up?