- Rajya Sabha marshals seen in uniforms resembling armed forces'
- The change did not please the Indian Army
- Many of its former officers tweeted their disapproval
A surprise awaited the members of the Rajya Sabha as he upper house of parliament opened for its 250th session today. The marshals of the Rajya Sabha, dressed traditionally in Indian attire complete with turbans, were seen in uniforms that closely resembled that of the armed forces. The change did not please the army. Many of its former officers -- including former army chief, General VP Malik -- tweeted their disapproval.
"Copying and wearing of military uniforms by non military personnel is illegal and a security hazard. I hope @VPSecretariat, @RajyaSabha & @rajnathsingh ji will take early action," VP Malik's tweet read.
Union Minister V K Singh, a retired general of the Indian Army, said what has been done is illegal.
The uniforms were dark blue, with shoulder insignias, gold buttons and gold aiguillette -- ornamental braided cord worn on army or academic uniforms. The peaked cap resembles one worn by Army officers of the rank of Brigadier and above.
The uniform also left political leaders vexed. Cutting across party lines, most elders were irked with the use of the caps and the emblems.
The Congress's Jairam Ramesh was heard asking Vice President Venkaiah Naidu whether "martial law" has been imposed on the upper house.
Unlike in the lower house, where they have often have to physically remove protesting members, the function of marshals in the upper house is mostly ceremonial. They have to march before the chairman or the presiding officer of the house to announce the beginning of the proceedings. They also help the presiding officer with his tasks, fetching, removing and arrangement of documents.
Mr Ramesh's flippant remark got a rebuke from the Rajya Sabha chairman. "Don't raise insignificant queries at such a significant hour," responded Mr Naidu.
A special discussion was held at the Rajya Sabha today on the occasion of its 250th session that was started off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Addressing the house ahead of the Prime Minister, Mr Naidu urged all members to do some soul searching because "all is not well" as far as meeting people's expectations was concerned.