Respected Veterans, Jai Hind.
1. At the very outset, I must say, Maj Gen Satbir Singh, Chairman IESM and the leading light of Ex-Servicemen Movement, is an Hon’ble MAN, whose commitment to the cause is unparalleled; and, a MAN of unimpeachable integrity (Not that he requires a certificate from me. I say so, because of my close association with him since April 2008). I am one of the founding members of IESM alongwith Gen Satbir Singh; however, I quit IESM on account of differences in matters of Principle. That however does not take away the sheen or shine from Gen Satbir Singh.
2. Comments by Maj Gen SG Vombatkere on formation of Fauji Janata Party merits serious consideration. For those who do not know Maj Gen Vombatkere, it would suffice to say that he is not only a professional soldier; but also an erudite scholar, an ardent environmentalist, an avid nature lover and trekker, a committed activist fighting for causes in the interest of the Nation and its people; and above all, a great human being and a source of inspiration for Veterans like me.
3. Coming to the subject of formation of ‘Fauji Janata Party’, my views are as follows:
(a) In a Democracy, it is the inalienable right of all citizens (the term includes serving soldiers and Ex-Servicemen) to take part in Electoral process; except that, serving soldiers cannot form an Association or a political party. Electoral process means right to form a political party or belong to any political party or to vote for any political party one chooses.
(b) While Ex-Servicemen may or may not belong to one or the other Ex-Servicemen org, it is an accepted norm that all Ex-Servicemen Org remain apolitical, ie. do not align themselves with any political party; though individual Ex-Servicemen are at liberty to align themselves or belong to any political outfit or party.
(c) The bane of IESM is its Governing Body’s proclivity to take unilateral decisions without consulting the State Convenors and Members. It is one of the reasons I quit IESM in Dec 2010. I must most humbly submit to Gen Satbir Singh that the gathering of Ex-Servicemen at Jantar Mantar is just a gathering; and is not a Parliament of Ex-Servicemen to either approve Policy decisions or pass resolutions pertaining to matters concerning ESM Welfare.
(d) I agree with Gen Vombatkere that all important matters pertaining to major Policy Decisions or passing resolutions, must be discussed in the AGM or Emergency General Body Meeting.
(e) Given the standard practice and accepted norm that Ex-Servicemen org/outfits remain strictly apolitical, I submit the following:
(i) In case Gen Satbir Singh feels that there is a need to form a Political Party with the name, ‘Fauji Janata Party’; he is most welcome to do so as an individual alongwith a few more Veterans; and not as Chairman IESM.
(ii) In case Gen Satbir Singh is elected as President of ‘Fauji Janata Party’, in the fitness of things and to set a healthy precedent, he must relinquish the post of Chairman IESM. But in case he decides not to lead ‘Fauji Janata Party’ as its President or hold any office in the newly formed ‘Fauji Janata Party’, he is most welcome to continue as President IESM, provided elected in the AGM.
(iii) Veterans from all over the Country and abroad have contributed large sums of money to IESM for furtherance of IESM’s struggle for grant of OROP; and not for forming a political party or for funding a political party or to indulge in political activities.
(iv) Though it is easy to form a political party, one must understand that it requires humongous sums of money, 99% of it in ‘Black’, to fight elections.
(v) I am not discouraging Gen Satbir Singh & Co from forming a political party or to take part in elections. All that I am saying is that they must carry out a SWOT analysis before they take any considered decision.
(vi) Gen Satbir Singh must factor in the reality that, Ex-Servicemen whether Officers or JCOs & OR are a selfish lot, who lack pride in themselves. ‘Ex-Servicemen sab Khudgarz hain. Yeh siraf Malaai chaat ne ke liye thaiyaar hai; par, kaam karne ke liye nahi”. This statement would be borne out by the fact that out of 4000 retired Officers and 33,000 retired JCOs & OR settled down in & around Bangalore, only 50-75 officers and 100-150 JCOs & OR attend the Commemoration Ceremony on Kargil Diwas (26 July) and on Vijay Diwas (16 Dec).
(vii) I am not too confident that Ex-Servicemen would turn up in large numbers even to vote. I feel so, because Ex-Servicemen as a fraternity do not feel they are stake holders in any election. ‘Chalta hai’ attitude is their creed.
(viii) Elections are a numbers game. If you cannot garner Ex-Servicemen vote in huge numbers, not in hundreds but in thousands, in each & every district, no political party will even look at you; forget about aligning with ‘Fauji Janata Party’. Again, I wish to reiterate that I am not here to dissuade Gen Satbir Singh from forming ‘Fauji Janata Party’. I am only playing the ‘Devil’s Advocate’.
(ix) Now coming to the question of funding ‘Fauji Janata Party’. I am confident that retired Officers and JCOs & OR (and their equivalents in the Navy & Air Force) will come forward in large numbers, from all over the Country, to contribute to ‘Fauji Janata Party’. My experience has been that there is never a dearth of funds.
4. I now leave it to the collective wisdom of Gen Satbir Singh & Co to take a considered decision on the formation of ‘Fauji Janata Party’; and pass a resolution not to use the funds donated to IESM for any political activity/activities.
(Source- via e-mail)
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