Punjab CM justifies Rahul’s walkout from defence panel meeting

Chandigarh, Dec 17 : Terming Rahul Gandhi’s walkout from the parliamentary defence committee as totally justified, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged the Speaker to look into the working of the committee, which he dubbed as ‘absurd’, with members discussing the type of polish to be used on buttons and shoes of the uniform instead of strategising on ways to counter the joint China-Pak threat.

“With both China and Pakistan breathing down India’s neck, the committee should have been discussing strategic security issues and the urgent requirements of our forces and not the polish they need to shine their shoes and buttons,” said Amarinder, himself an ex-Army man and defence historian with extensive knowledge and experience of security issues as well as the workings of such panels.

“People who know nothing of the defence forces are made to sit on these committees now and we expect them to protect the nation,” said Amarinder in a statement, expressing shock that political affiliations were guiding the functioning of the panel.

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Politicians with no knowledge of the history and armed forces are sitting in the committee, he remarked, adding that the chairman should understand that what is done or discussed in these committee meetings is in the larger interest of the nation and he should not behave in such a petty manner.

Slamming the functioning of the present committee, the Chief Minister said he felt ashamed of the level to which it had reached.

“For God’s sake, think about our forces, think about the country,” he appealed, asserting that Rahul was right to walk out of the meeting which, rather than talking about what the forces need to combat the threat of China and Pakistan, was discussing trivial issues.

Underlining the need to raise the level of debate in these meetings, the Chief Minister said this is not the forum to discuss what Brasso is needed to polish uniform buttons and shoes, and make issues out of non-issues.

He stressed that senior army officers attend the committee meetings not to talk about petty matters but to discuss more vital subjects of national security and the concerns of the forces, who are fighting out there every day, and losing their lives.

“What are you doing for them? What are you giving them for their living, their clothing, food, arms, ammunition? This is what the committee needs to discuss,” he added.

The way Rahul and other Congress members were treated was atrocious, said Singh, citing reports that the party MP was not allowed to speak.

He recalled his own experience as a member of the committee, once when Indira Gandhi was chairperson and on another occasion when Major General BC Khanduri led the panel.

“We were allowed to speak freely,” he said, pointing out that even Indira was the defence minister and understood the needs of the armed forces. What is being done now is an attempt to end those cherished traditions, the Chief Minister lamented.

Recalling that his own former regiment was formed in 1846 and had 26 battle honours, Amarinder Singh asked “should we forget about them and the sacrifices?”. These people don’t understand what they speak and say, and don’t let others speak, he added.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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