Friday, December 25, 2015

End impasse on OROP, Jethmalani tells Parrikar

BJP’s pledge before polls is now being ‘dishonestly repudiated’, says letter to Defence Minister
Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, in a strongly worded letter to Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, asked him to use his good offices with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to end the impasse on the issue of One Rank, One Pension (OROP).

A former BJP leader, Mr. Jethmalani has of late become a fierce critic of the Modi government and is also legally representing the protesting ex-servicemen.

“The Hon’ble Prime Minister’s only excuse for non-compliance of the promise repeatedly made by Shri Modiji during the campaign is that he had not understood the financial implications of the proposal. This is not what one expects from the Prime Minister,” Mr. Jethmalani said in the letter written on Wednesday.

This excuse he noted was unjust and totally irrelevant and did no credit to the government. “This is worse than your party president’s excuse for not fulfilling the black money pledge by calling it an election joke (jumla),” he said referring to BJP president Amit Shah’s remarks early this year that the promise to deposit Rs. 15 lakh in everyone’s account from black money brought back to the country was a “political jumla”.

“You are one of the few Ministers for whom I have great respect and that alone induces me to write this to you,” Mr. Jethmalani said. He cautioned Mr. Parrikar that “there is some misunderstanding being created by some in your own party who want ‘a Bihar’ to be repeated in other States.”

Observing that the OROP has been a “solemn promise” repeatedly made by the BJP during the last election campaign, Mr. Jethmalani said this binding pledge was now being “dishonestly repudiated” and cautioned that jawans were not going to accept a clear violation of the solemn promises made to them.

Requesting Mr. Parrikar to “apply your mind to this serious matter” Mr. Jethmalani said he could personally attend the meeting “if one takes place to sort this out”.

The government, on November 7, had issued the notification for implementing the OROP. However, the veterans rejected it saying that it diluted the OROP as promised by the government and as accepted by the Parliament.

The major issues of disagreement are the issue of premature retirement (PMR) and pension equalisation. The notification stated that “those opting for the PMR henceforth on their own accord will not be eligible for the OROP” which caused major concern among the serving community. In addition veterans have been demanding annual equalisation of pension as against five years proposed by the government, which is against the spirit of the OROP.


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