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Can ex-servicemen change the result of the elections?
Our armed forces are steeped in rich traditions and have remained professional and apolitical since independence. They have acquitted themselves with honour, valour, courage and the spirit of sacrifice.

Several former soldiers have taken up politics after retirement. But none of the chiefs of any of the three services has done what General VK Singh has done. General Singh is the first chief to take on the government on social and political issues soon after retirement.

The fact that General Singh had a bitter fight with the government over the issue of his date of birth, which impacted when he retired, is being linked to his targeting the Congress over corruption and other issues.

The country should be first for a soldier, even after retirement even he joins the politics. How far this concept could go a long way is matter of discussions?

No doubt, the corruption too has entered in the army but now the questions arise, as to whether the soldier can fit himself in the corrupt political system? At the same time, there is a view that soldiers too change the poll results.

There are about 15.5 lakh soldiers in Army, Navy and Air Force and out of this approximately 4.70 lakh are stationed in the Cantonments in Punjab, Himachal and Haryana.

According to one report, about 30,000 soldiers are interested to use their rights mentioned in the Constitution. Despite this decision taken at a very later stage, some soldiers at station commanders are taking interest in registration of their warriors as new voters. While certain political leaders are not interested from the core of their heart as they know that neither as per directions of Supreme Court and Election Commission of India, they can enter into the cantonments for false election campaigns nor they can distribute cash, drugs in the military stations.

In case we see it in real perspective, if the people want to know the real picture of political leaders, then only the soldiers can tell us. There are about 25 lakh ex-servicemen and in case we add the existing soldiers, pensions and their family members, it comes to around 1.40 crore.

It may be recalled that in the last few decades, the soldiers have been ignored, it has given a birth at Indian Movement of Ex-servicemen and the entire soldier’s community have diverted the attention of political parties by jumping in the political system. It needs to be mentioned here that soldiers are being misguided by saying that certain political leaders are indicating the decision of the government for ‘one-rank, one-pension’ as ‘election stunt’ which is not good at all.

Our system is so dented that in order to fight with the system one has to join the system and be in a position of power to influence decisions. Being a Minister or Member of Parliament will enable former soldiers to influence policies to the advantage of the services.

Advantages and disadvantages go side by side. Power and politics can corrupt even the most well-meaning of individuals. Once in power, with unlimited perks and privileges, ex-servicemen in power may ignore the very constituency to which they belong.

Soldiering and politics do not go together. Ex-soldiers are therefore liable to be manipulated by politicians and can be victims of inducements in cash and kind. This again may damage the image of an ex-serviceman as a politician.

There is the big danger of gradual politicisation of the armed forces, which is likely to dent the cutting edge enjoyed by them over their adversaries across the border.

Frankly speaking, to conclude an ex-serviceman must join politics only if he can make a pledge to himself that he would follow the same ethos he followed while in service and only if he is ready to use politics as a platform to serve the constituency from where he comes.

The ex-servicemen community should send their representatives duly elected to the parliament having neat and clean record, effective, spotless and honest. But for a soldier the country should be above the politics and family.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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