New Delhi: Opinions were divided on Wednesday on the future of army chief V.K. Singh with the SP, the RJD and the JD-U saying he should be sacked after his letter to the prime minister on shortage of ammunition in the forces came out in open but the BJP saying it did not support the demand.

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As the uproar over the letter led to angry scenes in the Rajya Sabha, Janata Dal-United leader Shivanand Tiwari was the first to demand the sacking of the army chief.

"This is a matter of serious indiscipline, the army chief should be sacked... if we don't take an action, it can become a bad tradition," said Tiwari.

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Samajwadi Party too were vociferous seeking the dismissal of the Army Chief, Gen V K Singh, for making public his reported letter to the Prime Minister expressing concern over the state of preparedness of the Army. RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav advised the General not to cross his limits.

"He (General) should be sacked immediately. Why he was silent all these days if there was shortage of ammunition," RJD supremo Lalu Prasad asked while talking to reporters outside Parliament.

Describing the Army Chief as a "frustrated" man, he said, "It seems the General wants to fight elections. If there are any issues concerning the forces then he should have taken the Defence Minister into confidence. There is a huge investment on defence forces."

Terming the development as very "serious and sensitive", Samajwadi Party leader Ram Gopal Yadav also demanded sacking of the Army Chief.

"People always have faith in our forces. It is a very serious and sensitive issue as far as letter is concerned which states that 97 percent of our ammuntion is not good, SP leader said.


"If Army Chief is responsible for it which prima facie suggests, he should be sacked immediately. If this kind of indiscipline grows in Army then it will be a dangerous trend for the country."

However, Yadav said the development is a also a sign of weak leadership.

Expressing concern, JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav said, "It has never happened in the last 63 years. We are very concerned over the development. This is a very serious issue and whatever is happening is not good."

The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party took a slightly different view. Asked about the stand taken by ally JD-U, BJP spokesperson Ravishankar Prasad said: "We do not share the view."

Leaders from the Left demanded a thorough inquiry and said strict action should be taken. They were joined by the Biju Janta Dal (BJD).

"Examine into the leak, fix responsibility and punish whosoever is responsible," CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury said.

V.K. Singh, in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, has pointed out a shortage of arms and ammunition in the armed forces and questioned if the country is ready for a war.

According to reports, the letter, which was written March 12, states that army tanks in the country have run out of ammunition.


JPN/Agencies