File photo of Anurag Singh Thakur speaking at an election rally in Rithala
File photo of Anurag Singh Thakur speaking at an election rally in Rithala | ANI Photo
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New Delhi: Several retired Armymen have taken to Twitter to express dismay at BJP Minister of State and Territorial Army officer Anurag Thankur’s conduct ahead of the Delhi election, when he encouraged crowds to chant “Desh ke gaddaron ko goli maaro…”.

Among these exservicemen is retired Lieutenant General Surinder Singh, who served as General Officer Commander-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Western Command, and currently heads the Punjab Public Service Commission.

“We are an army which has got no religion, no caste, no religion. We have groups from all over, all religions. So when our people speak a language which is inappropriate — they may be retired, or a TA, or anything — it affects our rank and file,” Singh told ThePrint. “Are those who are leading us today, are they thinking the same way? I felt I should express it.”

Several officers, both from the Sikh regiment and outside, were in agreement with him on Twitter.




In July 2016, Anurag Thakur became the first BJP member of Parliament who was commissioned as an officer in the Territorial Army. ThePrint reached out to Thakur through calls and text messages but he did not respond. This report will be updated when he replies. 

Also read: Amit Shah, Adityanath, Anurag Thakur — 5 most provocative speeches of Delhi elections

The territorial army

The Territorial Army is the second line of defence after the regular Army, and is composed of volunteers who receive military training for two months in a year so they can be mobilised for the country’s defence in case of an emergency.

“After they are commissioned, TA officers must go to an Army institute for training for a few months a year to be embodied and serving officers,” said military historian Mandeep Bajwa. Officers are disembodied for the time that they are out of service.

“There is a clause that allows you to engage in political activity while disembodied,” Bajwa said, adding, “Once they are embodied, they are subject to the Army Rules.”

According to Army Rules, serving officers are prohibited from making discriminatory speeches or inciting violence, but disembodied TA officers are not bound by the rules. 

Thakur is currently disembodied.

During a Delhi election campaign rally for BJP candidate Manish Chaudhary in Rithala on 27 January, Minister of State of Finance Anurag Thakur chanted the now-famous slogan, “desh ke gaddaro ko”, as the crowd responded, “goli maaro saalon ko”.

Among other current political leaders who have been a TA officer is Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot. Former Union minister K.P. Singh Deo had also been a TA officer.

This report has been updated to reflect two corrections — the military historian quoted in the copy is Mandeep Bajwa and not Baweja, and it’s K.P. Singh Deo who was a TA officer and not former PM V.P. Singh.    

Also read: India belongs to everyone — BJP allies object to ‘hate speeches’ over Shaheen Bagh


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7 Comments Share Your Views


  1. The minister is right and responsible too .He said Desh ka gadaronko. The Generals and Colonels after retirement should not be biased. Till last breath whether Colonels or Generals, Beggars or aristocrats, must and should ready to kill Desh ka Gadaronko. After passing law in parliament how a retired General or Colonels can spread propaganda against the ministers commitment against the nation. General already enjoying Govt facilities being Chair of PSC. He must be pleasing his boss

  2. I have developed numbness below waist including hips , genitals and legs with burning sensation,when standing or walking even for short duration .MRI indicates-disc degeneration vide supra,disc bulge L2-L3,L3l4,L4L5and L5-S1 levels supra, Secondry canal stenosis L3-4,L4-5levels.Cervicaland lumber spondylosis & degenrative changes SI joints.

  3. This shows he’s a politician first for his selfish motives and a army officer last .Army comprises of highly qualified decorated officers which is a big family with lots of love , brotherhood amongst them,and a lousy comment from an immature politician who calls himself part of army is disgusting.

  4. In the first how he managed to get into TA leave one fit to be Minister. His father should hang his head in shame for not incalculating good character and behaviour. Imagine his father P K Dhumal has been HP CM more than once and has failed to teach him art of good speech. Home Ministerji now claims Goli Maro slogan may have cost BJP in Delhi. It is unclear why the Party did not take action soon after when motivated crowd to chant Goli slogan, at the most they would have lost couple of seat.

  5. I have served in TA as Group Commander. There are enough regulations to ensure that this fellow doesn’t wear the uniform again

  6. He’s playing to the gallery it’s shame to allow people to wear uniform. Uniform means decorum. Less said the better the way people are allowed to decorate them self in forces- ranks.


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