Withdraw orders making armed forces look like pracharaks: Kharge to PM
The senior Congress leader has asked the BJP-led government at the centre to withdraw orders seeking the bureaucracy to showcase government achievements and armed forces to promote government schemes
Objecting to the Centre’s orders asking the higher bureaucracy to showcase government achievements, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Sunday (October 22) wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging that the government’s recent orders asking officials to “showcase” the achievements of the last nine years was “politicization” of the bureaucracy and demanded their withdrawal.
In his letter, Kharge objected to the government order issued on October 18 which, he claimed, stated that senior officers of ranks as high as joint secretary, director and deputy secretary are to be deployed to all 765 districts of India as “Rath Prabharis” to “showcase achievements of the last nine years of Government of India”.
He also referred to another order of the Ministry of Defence on October 9, 2023 directing soldiers on annual leave to spend time in promoting government schemes, making them “soldier-ambassadors”.
“It is no coincidence that the last nine years correspond to your tenure in office. This is of grave concern for multiple reasons,” Kharge said, alleging that senior officers are being deputed for “marketing activity” of the incumbent government.
Violation of service rules
It is a clear violation of the Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1964, which directs that no government servant shall take part in any political activity, Kharge said. “While it is acceptable for government officers to disseminate information, to make them 'celebrate' and 'showcase' achievements blatantly turns them into political workers of the ruling party. The fact that only 'achievements' of the last nine years are being considered, gives away the fact that this is a transparently political order in the run-up to the five state elections and the general elections of 2024,” the Congress chief alleged in his letter.
He said if senior officers of departments are being deputed for “marketing activity” of the current government, the governance of the country will grind to a halt for the next six months.
Withdraw orders immediately
Kharge posted the letter on X, formerly Twitter, and said, “For the Modi Government, all agencies, institutions, arms, wings, and departments of the government are now officially 'Pracharaks’.” He further wrote on X, “In view of protecting our democracy and our Constitution, it is imperative that the orders which would lead to the politicising of Bureaucracy and our Armed Forces must be withdrawn immediately,” Kharge also said in his post.
AICC general secretary Jairam Ramesh also shared the letter on X and said, “Mallikarjun Kharge-ji, Congress President, has just written to the PM on the blatant politicisation taking place of civil servants and soldiers who must, at all times, be kept independent and non-political.”
Kharge, who is also the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, said he is writing on a matter of great public importance which is of concern not just to the INDIA parties but also to people at large.
It is dangerous to politicise armed forces
“This has to do with the gross misuse of government machinery taking place in the country today in service of the ruling political party,” he also said.
He also referred to another order of the Ministry of Defence on October 9, 2023, directing soldiers on annual leave to spend time on promoting government schemes, making them “soldier-ambassadors”. “The Army Training Command, which should be focused on preparing our jawans to defend the nation, is busy preparing scripts and training manuals on how to promote government schemes,” he said.
Kharge, in his letter, said that it is of utmost importance in a democracy that the Armed Forces are kept out of politics. “The loyalty of every jawan is to the nation and the Constitution. To force our soldiers to become marketing agents of government schemes is a dangerous step towards politicization of the Armed Forces,” he stated in his letter.
Don’t hijacked soldiers’ leave
Furthermore, he said that after many months or years of difficult service to the nation, jawans deserve complete freedom on their annual leave to spend time with their families and restore energy for continued service.
“Their leave must not be hijacked for political purposes,” he asserted.
In both cases, of civil servants and soldiers, Kharge said, it is essential that government machinery is kept out of politics, especially in the months leading up to an election.
“In addition to the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax Department and the CBI already acting as election departments of the BJP, the orders mentioned above put the entire government machinery to work as if they are agents of the ruling party. All agencies, institutions, arms, wings, and departments are now officially 'Pracharaks',” the Congress chief alleged in his letter.
(With agency inputs)