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-servi cemen 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.
Youth Congress workers led by outfit's the chief Raja Brar also marched in protest to the PM's residence on Friday but were stopped on the way by police. Congress is likely to ratchet up pressure on OROP during the winter session of Parliament starting mid-November. Rahul Gandhi demanded an apology from the government for “unacceptable treatment“ meted out by police to Grewal's family.
After the meeting in Congress office, Maj Gen Satbir Singh of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement said, “We have apprised Rahul of the subject and our demands. It is the duty of every parliamentarian to raise the issue in Parliament and help ex-servicemen get their rights.“
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“Modi government moved swiftly to implement OROP which was hanging fire for 43 years. Unlike the previous governments we did not pay just lip service but made an additional provision of Rs 29,000 crore in the budget to meet our commitment.
In fact, revised budget estimates show that we will be spending Rs 35,000 crore more towards our pension obligation because of OROP,“ said Parrikar.
Saying that he was pained by the death of Subedar Grewal, Parrikar said that it was because of an error in computing because of which the retired Army person was getting about Rs 3,000 less than what was his due.