Former army chief Gen V.K. Singh is leading a contingent of military officers who are contesting the 16th Lok Sabha elections. Gen Shankar Roy Chowdhury was the only other army chief to enter Parliament but via the Rajya Sabha. V.K. Singh is the most high-profile officer to ever fight an election—and self-acclaimedly one destined to clean the stables of the spectacularly mismanaged ministry of defence, were he to become the country’s next defence minister. In an unabashedly immodest interview to the Hindustan Times, he said he knew what was wrong in the MoD and could set right the deficiencies in the system. He’s got his eyes set on it. Across battleground Ghaziabad, V.K. Singh had deployed in battle formations, across a dozen regions, four-member command teams to help him win the elections. That Gen Singh’s legacy does no army proud is another matter; still one should worry about the signals this sends about the background of service officers aspiring to join the highest house in the country.
Tainted politicians and upright military officers are poles apart. Based on complaints, the Election Commission, according to news reports, had to warn V.K. Singh not to introduce himself as ‘army general’ or ‘army chief’. What can be more embarrassing and denigratory for a former chief?