The defence minister visited various stalls set up at the stadium. (Photo Credit: PTI)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday said it was the prerogative of the governor to invite a party to form a government. The comments came after BJP’s Devendra Fadnavis and NCP leader Ajit Pawar took oath as the Maharashtra chief minister and deputy chief minister respectively on Saturday. The unexpected development took place a day after Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray emerged as the Sena-NCP-Congress’ consensus candidate for the top post. “At this point of time in this programme, I do not wish to make any political statement. It was the prerogative of the governor,” Singh said at an event in Lucknow.
“The governor invited the person (to form the government) after he was satisfied.” At the event, Singh paid tributes to ex-servicemen and their families in Lucknow and said the country is proud of them.
Addressing the gathering at the AMC Stadium, he said, “We are proud of the jawans and equally proud of our ex-servicemen. I know that even today, there are many ex-servicemen, who if the need arises, can discharge their duty with the same level of confidence. I am assured of this,” he said.
The defence minister visited various stalls set up at the stadium and also interacted with former servicemen and their widows. He said Uttar Pradesh was the birthplace of war heroes and bravehearts like Abdul Hameed and Manoj Pandey.
“It is a matter of pride for us. The entire nation will remain indebted to the Army jawans who laid down their lives in defence of the country. We cannot free ourselves from this debt by extending any amount of facilities their families.” “As far as defence pension is concerned, the process from acceptance to its disbursement is complicated. There may be some mistakes. The pension may not be what you are entitled for. A decision was made to hold pension adalats at different places in the country, so that our veterans do not face any tension and their pension is timely sanctioned,” the minister added.
He said ex-servicemen were not just pensioners or veterans, but a source of inspiration for the country. “It is for the first time that any defence minister has come to attend this type of programme. There may be a question in people’s mind that when no one came earlier, then why did I come? I have come because the respect, which I accord to on-duty personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force, the same quantum of respect, I give to the ex-servicemen,” Singh said.
“After I assumed the office of defence minister, on the second day itself I expressed my wish to visit Siachen to the chief of Army staff, so that I could see for myself the difficult situation in which our jawans discharge their duties. For the first time, I came to know that the jawans there do not shave their beards. After boosting their morale, when I returned, I wrote a letter to their parents or wives and expressed my respect, stating that we are proud of families like you,” he said.
The defence minister on this occasion also said that the country is touching heights today, and the biggest contribution is of the Army and jawans. “If the country is not secured, then its development is not possible,” he said. He also expressed happiness that youths are eager to join the armed forces, and “every part of the country I visit, there is a request that recruitment camps for Army should be organised. This despite the fact that after joining one may have face bullets, bombs and terrorists,” he said. Elaborating on why youths wants to join the Army, the Singh said, “There is a feeling of ‘swabhimaan’ (self-respect).
Self-respect is personal, family-oriented, social and even nationalistic. Personal self-respect is aroused when someone hurls abuses at you, and you are ready to fight back. If abuses are hurled at your family, then family-oriented self-respect is aroused.” “But, if any power in the world tries to cast an evil eye on the borders of India, then, at that point of time, the self-respect that is aroused among the countrymen is nationalistic self-respect, and not personal or family-oriented,” he said.
“It is with this nationalistic self-respect that they (youths) join the Army,” the minister added. Singh said that during the freedom struggle, Chandrashekhar Azad, Bhagat Singh, Khudiram Bose and Ashfaqullah Khan were inspired by nationalistic self-respect due to which they smilingly embraced capital punishment. “Our government implemented One Rank, One Pension after a few months of forming the government. The issue had been lingering for nearly 30-40 years,” he said.