Free Press Journal

Army chief appointment issue under examination: CEC


New Delhi: The Election Commission today made it clear that it is yet to take a decision on the issue of next Army Chief’s appointment.

“The matter is under examination,” Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath told reporters here on being asked whether the poll panel has decided on the issue.

Amid strong opposition by the BJP to the government going ahead with the process of appointing the next Army Chief, Centre 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 of Conduct in the ongoing elections as well as any other election in the future.

Sources in the Commission said the poll panel will consider 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 as well as complaints from BJP that the government was rushing with the appointment of the next Army Chief.

The BJP has contended that the next Army Chief’s appointment should be left to the new government that will asusme office after the May 16 results.

Army Vice Chief Lt Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag is the front-runner for appointment to the top post which will fall vacant on July 31 after the retirement of present Army chief Gen Bikram Singh.