Govt seeks EC nod for picking next army chief
The BJP has been opposing the appointment of the next Army chief by the incumbent government, arguing that there was no hurry to do so and the matter should be left to the next government. Party leader Ravi Shankar Prasad had said , ‘I am not going into the specifics of any particular name but surely on the larger issue of naming the next general and reports about Lokpal appointment, we expect that when we are in the midst of elections, when the model code of conduct is in force, at least till 16 May, all these things must be avoided.’
Army vice-chief Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is the frontrunner for appointment to the top post which will fall vacant on 31 July after the retirement of present army chief Gen Bikram Singh.
Traditionally, the appointment of chiefs of services has been made two months before the retirement of the incumbent. The current chief Gen Bikram Singh’s tenure expires on 31 July.
Several attempts have been made in past to scuttle Suhag’s chances of becoming Army chief. However, the Centre has found no merit in the allegations against him. Former Army chief Gen V K Singh had imposed a discipline and vigilance promotion ban on him when he was heading the 3 Corps in Dimapur.
V K Singh had charged Suhag with ‘abdicating responsibility’ in ‘a most unprofessional and lackadaisical manner’ while dealing with a botched operation by an intelligence and surveillance unit under him.
The ban was revoked by Gen Bikram Singh, when he took over as the Army chief, paving the way for Suhag’s elevation as the Eastern Army Commander in June 2012.