New Delhi: Training its guns on Defence
Minister AK Antony, the BJP on Monday said his "inaction" and
"indecisiveness" were proving extremely costly for the country
and wondered if this drove General VK Singh to speak to the
media about being offered bribe.
The party, at the same time, questioned why the army chief
did not take immediate action against the guilty person and
instead chose to approach the Defence Minister.
"I have known the Defence Minister longer than I have
known the Army Chief. AK Antony specialises in the art of
indecision.... His style of functioning is one of silence,
inaction and indecisiveness. The consequences of this will
have to be borne by the armed forced.... The Ministry of
Defence cannot function like this," BJP leader Jaswant Singh
told reporters here.
He asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to "wake up"
and come clean on the allegations made by General Singh that
he was offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore for an equipment deal.
He also sought a clarification from Antony on the whole issue.
The opposition party alleged that Antony leaves issues
undecided and his silence and indecision are proving
"extremely costly" for the country. "Taking a decision is the
most difficult task for him," Jaswant Singh said.
He maintained that inaction and "inadequate response"
from Antony may have necessitated this "public airing".
"Was the indecision of the defence minister the reason
for the Army chief`s decision to go to the press?" he said.
However, he said it is unclear why the army chief did
not order the immediate arrest of the person who had offered
him the bribe.
"Why did he not immediately call his military police and
put this man in a locker. This is an insult to the army. Why
did he choose instead to go to the defence minister?" Jaswant
Jaswant Singh, a former Defence Minister, also sought to
know what was the response of Antony when General VK Singh
apprised him of the bribe offer.
Asked about Antony`s decision to order a CBI inquiry
into the bribery issue, Jaswant Singh said he has always
maintained that the defence ministry should deal with such
matters on its own.
"It is good if we don`t go to CBI for everything....
The Defence Minister has ordered an inquiry. This is no way to
head a key ministry," he said.
Jaswant said this incident has weakened the morale of the
He alleged that mutual affection and trust between the
defence ministry and the defence forces has either been broken
or has ended completely.
The BJP also charged that this "continuing indecisiveness"
by Antony has led to "an acute shortage of equipment" in the
Citing an example, he said when NDA was in power, it
was decided that 126 fighter planes should be bought and ten
years have passed since then but the government has still not
managed to finalise a deal.
He said an MP has raised doubts on the selection
process of these planes- done during the UPA regime- saying it
had not been proper.
He maintained that Antony should have got the issue probed
by now and finalised the deal as the number of fighter planes
in the Indian Air Force has gone down.