Amid strong opposition by BJP to appointment of next Army Chief, Government today said the matter has been referred to the Election Commission and any decision will be taken only after getting its nod.
"The matter is before the Election Commission. We want to strictly follow all the procedures before taking any final decision on the issue," Defence Minister AK Antony told PTI when asked about the status of appointing the next Army chief.
The matter was sent to the Election Commission by the Defence Ministry earlier this week though the poll panel has already said that appointments, promotions, tenders and procurements are not covered under the Model Code of Conduct in the ongoing elections as well as any other election in the future.
On why has the Ministry sent the matter to the Election Commission despite its March 27 order, highly placed Defence Ministry sources said such matters are important and it was felt that nod of all authorities concerned should be taken before proceeding.
The BJP has been opposing 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.
Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is the frontrunner for appointment to the top post which will fall vacant on July 31 after the retirement of present Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh.
Traditionally, the appointment of chief of services has been made two months before the retirement of the incumbent. However, in the case of Gen Bikram Singh, the appointment was done three months before the retirement of Gen V K Singh, who was engaged in a long-drawn battle with the government over his age issue.
Manmohan has proved himself to be a worthy thoroughbred bootlicker bereft of all decency and integrity.
The CONgressies have shed all pretences to basic decency.
Their shamelessness is mind boggling.
They want to appoint a new army chief 10 days before a new government comes in!!!
They have broken the world record in brazenness.
The incumbent Government - knowing it's not likely to continue in office - is following a ' scorched earth' policy.
Damage all institutions and try and place your favourites in key appointments.
Make things as hard as possible for the new dispensation.
This is not a matter of legality but propriety. No government can sit on ots hands for over two months while the so called Model Code of Conduct is in force. However, it would be grossly improper for a government which has less than two weeks to go before it is turfed out of office to make senior appointments. The government's argument that it is so concerned that the "uncertainty" over the appointment will adversely affect the army is hogwash. Their is no requirement whatsoever for the appointment to be announced two months before the incumbent retires. Whoever the next Chief will be, will be relieved of his current duties a couple of days prior to the present chief's retirement and fly to Delhi to assume his new appointment. His bags and baggage will follow.
It is the same government which accepted the Navy Chief's resignation within one hour and took forty days to appoint the next one, resulting in a lot of unhealthy speculation. At the end of it, they announced thename and Adm Dhowan assumed office the next day.
Probably Maun Moan Singh believes that the next Raksh Mantri will emulate the present one and take forty days to arrive at a decision, by which time Gen Bikram Singh would have superannuated. No one and I mean no one can be as big a ditherer as saint Anthony.