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Election Commission to allow government to appoint next Army chief

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 10:19pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The Election Commission is understood to have decided to allow the government initiate the process for appointing the next Army chief.

Sources in the poll panel said the decision is likely to be conveyed to the Defence Ministry in a day or two.

The poll panel considered the matter in the light of its March 27 order that appointments, promotions, tenders and procurements of defence forces are not covered under the Model Code of Conduct and amid complaints from BJP that government was rushing with the appointment of the next Army chief.

In the wake of strong opposition by BJP to the appointment of the next Army chief, the Government had referred the matter to the Election Commission saying any decision will be taken only after getting its nod.

The matter was sent to the EC by the Defence Ministry last week though the poll panel has already said that appointments, promotions, tenders and procurements are not covered under the Model Code in the ongoing elections as well as any other election in the future.

BJP has been opposing the appointment of the next Army chief by the UPA Government, arguing 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 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 is 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.


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