General vs General fight dominates defence-forces in Pauri Garhwal seat
The Congress has fielded Lt Gen (rtd) Gambhir Singh Negi against BJP nominee Maj Gen (rtd) BC Khanduri from Pauri Garhwal parliamentary constituency. After the exit of Satpal Maharaj, Congress has mulled over many choices, from sitting Congress MLAs (Harak Singh Rawat, Surendra Singh Negi) to party spokesperson (Dhirendra Pratap) who staked their claim, but finally come to the conclusion that only army blood can create a wave in favour of the party.
GS Negi may be a lesser known face for the city residents in comparison to other contemporaries, but villagers of higher altitudes know that he believes in dictum: ‘Let your deeds speak louder than your words.’
He never forgets to visit his ancestral village once or twice in a year, and shared with neighbours the new transformations taking place in higher hills.
In 2009, when Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi landed in Gauchar to addressed public gathering there, he was the first person to tell Yuvraj about the ‘One rank, one pension’ scheme to give due respect to the soldiers and uplift their morale.
After June month tragedy of last year, he motivated many ex-servicemen to carry out relief operations in villages nearby Kedar valley without any support from outside. Near Kalimath, the team of ex-soldiers carries out medicines, solar lanterns and other necessary items to the disaster victims.
Army-officer-turned-politician GS Negi told, ‘From the last three generations, my family is in armed forces. My grandfather served in reputed Garhwal Rifles who took part in First World War. My father along with his three brothers was also in army who took part in Second World War, where one of my uncles laid down his life.
About his early life and career, he told, ‘I was born at Bengali village of Dejoli patti in Pauri district in 1944. I got my early education in Dehradun city. My father’s transferable job got me an opportunity to see many places of India. In 1965, after getting commission from Indian Military Academy (IMA), I served in army for 39 years at different positions and retired in 2004 as Lt. General.’
He was honoured twice with prestigious Ati Vishist Sewa Medal and in 2004, was given Param Vishist Sewa Medal for his exemplary service to the nation. He was also chairman of the Uttarakhand Public Service Commission.
With glittering eyes, he further told,’ I have only one son, who is also in army and carrying the family traditions successfully. Currently, he is stationed in Jammu & Kashmir. He is also proud recipient of two gallantry awards---Sena Medal and Saurya Meday.’
As nearly one lakh serving army personnel and more than 1.50 lakhs ex-servicemen will play a decisive role in the winning factor of any of these two generals, the battle has become interesting in this defense forces dominated constituency.
On the current problems, he said, ‘education, medical facility, infrastructure, employments are the burning issues which needs immediate attention to check large scale migration of rural hill youths. There should be job guarantee for soldiers once he retires from army. Why he should request for undignified jobs against meager salary in private sector. At middle-age, he stoops for jobs just to run his family who once did dignified job of serving nation. Only an army-man can understand the pains of their juniors who watched them from close quarters.’