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INSIDENE IMPACT: Congress demands disqualification of UPPL candidates for Army jobs promise

GUWAHATI: The Congress today demanded disqualification of all eight United People’s Party-Liberal (UPPL) candidates in the Assam assembly elections fray for the party’s promise that, if elected to power, it would facilitate recruitment of surrendered militants of disbanded National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) in Indian Army and paramilitary forces.

A day after InsideNE filed a report raising the matter with the defence ministry to find out if there was any such provision for political parties to promise jobs in defence sector, All India Congress Committee spokesman Gourav Vallabh today asked UPPL’s ally BJP to answer on behalf of UPPL if such a commitment was made by the Army.

“It is quite surprising to see that a party has mentioned in its election manifesto that it would recruit former militants in Indian Army. The BJP should answer on behalf of its ally if the Army has committed anything in writing to the UPPL … It’s an insult on the recruitment system of the country as well as the Indian Army.

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“If the Army has not giving any such assurance, the party should apologise to the people for the misleading promise. I also urge the Election Commission of India to disqualify the UPPL candidates for the misdemeanour if it cannot come up with satisfactory answer to establish its claim,” Vallabh said here today.

UPPL chief Pramod Boro had on Thursday released the party’s ‘Vision Document’, in which the party promised jobs in military and paramilitary forces to the former rebels.

“As per provisions of the Bodo Accord signed with the Centre as well as Assam governments, surrendered cadres of NDFB and other Bodo militant organisations will be provided jobs in army and paramilitary forces according to their ranks,” the vision document reads.

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The UPPL is contesting the Assam elections in alliance with the ruling BJP and the Asom Gana Parishad. The UPPL is contesting from eight of the 12 constituencies in Bodoland Territorial Region leaving the remaining four to the BJP.

Contacted by InsideNE to ask if a political party can promise to facilitate recruitment to army and paramilitary forces, defence and army officials have not reacted officially. But, according to reliable sources and retired senior officials of the Army said the Army has a separate director general for recruitment, and recruitment is based purely on individual’s capability and performance. “No one can influence but only the individual himself with merit,” an ex-army officer said.

The Indian Army is yet to react officially to the UPPL pre-poll promise.

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