Saturday, March 31, 2012
I really did not think there would be a day when politicians would dare to publicly demand the resignation of the Chief of Army Staff. I certainly did not ever imagine that I would see on national television, politicians openly spewing venom against a COAS and accusing him of doing politics in uniform and having a desire to fight elections.
But all this has indeed happened. Articles have been written in the media which would have been unthinkable just a few years back, openly making strong allegations against the Chief of Army Staff. And it shows no sign of ending.
What started as an age dispute at a tactical level......has finally come down to bitter hand-to-hand fighting on the street. This is no longer a theatre operation. It has all the hallmarks of a fight for every street, every house, every room. And a Chief of Army Staff should not be taking part in fighting at this level.
But unfortunately, this has happened. The Chief of Army Staff has allowed himself to fall in the classical trap of listening to the wrong kind of advice from the right kind of people. And if he imagines that this is a personal fight, then he is wrong, I'm afraid. It was never a personal fight even when he dragged the government to the Supreme Court over his date of birth. Because once you assume the office of the COAS, your persona blends into the office you hold and they become one. It is impossible to make them appear as two. No matter how much you try.
I am also of the view that the COAS has not come into this fight with clean hands. He had concealed weapons which he has used and which show that there was malafide intention when it came to the line of succession. The complaint to CBI regarding Lt Gen DS Suhag proves that. As does the late reaction to the bribe offer. You cannot remain silent and then become vocal when the time suits you. You have all the time in the world to walk into a police station to register an FIR against a journalist when he claims that you were born in 1949 but you wring your hands in despair after being made a bribe offer.
There is no point discussing the leakage of letter written to the Prime Minister since it has been discussed at all forums ad nauseum. But it is quite clear who did it and why. But let's not get into it. It may have been a clever attempt but it backfired, as have many tricks backfired during the past few months.
The political leadership has once again proven to be weak. We always knew it but it is always painful to watch it again. Decisive moves earlier in the day would have prevented things from reaching such a passe.
The repercussions of this fracas will last longer than the tenure of the present COAS. The damage is permanent. A cost the country will have to pay.
(Picture courtesy India Today)