|VK Singh and Anna Hazare
New Delhi, Dec. 31: Former army chief V.K. Singh is taking his activism towards a “systemic change” and has sought Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s permission to hold a rally in Patna with Anna Hazare on January 30.
Supporting the protests in Delhi against the government, general (retired) Singh said he was concerned that “there is no difference in the pre-1947 and post-1947 attitude of the police in the capital,” effectively calling it a colonial force.
The choice of Patna’s Gandhi Maidan for the rally in which Singh will join Anna Hazare to call for “systemic change” is important. He said they wanted the rally to be held on January 30, to mark the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Patna’s Gandhi Maidan has a long history of political rallies, among the more important of them being Jaiprakash Narayan’s movement in July 1974, from where the socialist leader called for “total revolution” against Indira Gandhi’s regime. In his first post-retirement public appearance alongside Anna Hazare on August 3 this year, the general harked back to the memory of Jaiprakash Narayan’s call.
He had said at Jantar Mantar, where he offered a glass of coconut water to Anna to break his fast, that the situation in the country now “resembled the days leading up to the imposition of Emergency in June 1975”. Singh described himself as an “activist” and not as a politician but he was clear that he had political objectives.
Last week, he floated an organisation called “Proud Citizen Soldier Forum” that he said would co-ordinate between former soldiers’ organisations and civilian bodies.
Asked what kind of systemic change he was seeking, he said: “There are a lot of issues. It has to do with laws and it has to do with mindsets but we will announce a few things in Patna. It is important to review if we have been able to make democracy meaningful in the last 65 years.”