With the Centre announcing the name of Lieutenant General Bipin Rawat as the new Chief of the Army Staff superseding two seniors for the coveted post, the Congress on 18 December demanded an answer from the government over the decision, while asserting that the Army is a public institution and the nation deserves an answer.
After taking to Twitter to voice his annoyance with the decision, Congress leader Manish Tewari assured that this was not a personal attack on the new Chief of Staff but a legitimate question.
"With all due respect to General Rawat's professionalism and brilliance as a soldier and no personal animosity to anybody, there is a legitimate question as to why has this supersession taken place. After all, Lt. Gen Praveen Bakshi who commands the Eastern Command, the Southern Army Commander Lt. Gen Mohammed Ali and the Central Army Commander are all senior to the gentleman who is being designated," Tewari said.
Reiterating his demand for an answer to the legitimate question as to why this supersession has taken place, the Congress leader added that the government's defence saying the grand old party superseded in the 80s and therefore the ruling dispensation has the right to do so is complete "non sequitur".
"Every situation has its own context and therefore nothing can be extrapolated out of context in order to justify supersession. Why were these three senior army commanders superseded? Did the government have anything against them? Was their professionalism in question? What was the reason that the fourth incumbent was picked and I guess the Army being a public institution the country deserves those answers," Tewari stated.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources have stated that Lt. General. Bipin Rawat, who has been appointed as the next Chief of Army Staff, was found the best suited among current batch of candidates of Lt. Generals, to deal with emerging challenges, including a reorganised and restructured military force in the north, continuing terrorism and proxy war from the west, and the situation in the North-East.
Lt. Gen. Praveen Bakshi, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Indian Army's Eastern Command at Kolkata, and the senior most General to succeed Dalbir Singh, was superseded in the appointment.
And Air Marshal Dhanoa was commissioned into the fighter stream of the IAF in June 1978. He has served in various squadrons, and in the Intelligence Directorate of Air Headquarters.