Army doesn’t want Agniveer scheme, INDIA bloc govt will throw it in dustbin: Rahul in Haryana

PTI, May 22, 2024, 4:48 PM IST

Image credit: PTI

Mahendragarh (Haryana): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said Wednesday the Agniveer military recruitment scheme will be scrapped and thrown in the dustbin if the INDIA bloc comes to power, as he slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “turning Hindustan ke jawan into labourers”.

In his first election meeting in Haryana for the Lok Sabha polls, Gandhi also attacked Modi over the issue of farmers. He claimed that the Modi government waived loans amounting to Rs 16 lakh crore for 22 “arabpatis (top industrialists)” but openly says it “won’t waive farmers’ debts as it will spoil them”.

“We had brought the land acquisition bill to protect farmers and give them due compensation, but the Modi government scrapped it. They brought three black farm laws and farmers had to take to the streets,” the former Congress president said.

Slamming the BJP government over the Agniveer scheme, he said, “This is Modi’s scheme, not the Army’s scheme. The Army does not want it. This scheme has been framed by the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office).”

“When the INDIA bloc forms the government, we will chuck the Agniveer scheme in the dustbin, we will tear it up,” he said at the rally held in the Mahendragarh-Bhiwani Lok Sabha constituency.

India’s borders, Gandhi said, are secured by the youths of Haryana and the country.

“There is patriotism in the DNA of our youth,” he said, adding, “Modi has converted Hindustan ke jawan into labourers.”

Sharpening his attack on the BJP government, the Congress leader said, “They say there will be two types of martyrs — normal jawans and officers who will get a pension, martyr status and facilities and those from poor families who have been named Agniveer. Agniveers will neither get martyr status nor pension or canteen facility.”

The Centre in 2022 rolled out the Agnipath recruitment scheme for short-term induction of personnel into the armed forces with an aim to bring down the age profile of the three services.

The scheme provides for recruiting youngsters in the age bracket of 17 years and a half to 21 years for a four-year period with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 years.

Gandhi also said when the INDIA bloc comes to power on June 4, debts of farmers in Haryana and other states will be waived, adding, “We will bring a ‘karza maafi’ commission.”

“Whenever Haryana farmers need their debts waived, the commission will tell the government and it will be done. When they can waive Rs 16 lakh crore for industrialists, why can we not help farmers, labourers and the poor,” he asked.

Gandhi also asked why the Modi government did not have a probe agency inquire if the Congress took tempo-loads of money from Adani-Ambani.

“For 10 years, you did not name Adani-Ambani and now you took their name in one of your speeches. Modi said that Adani-Ambani was giving money to the Congress. How could you know they were giving money in a tempo,” he asked.

Gandhi also claimed that the whole nation knew “Modi ji and Ambani’s partnership was running” the government.

Referring to the schemes proposed in the Congress’ poll manifesto, he said, “One woman will be selected from each family. On June 4, the INDIA (alliance) government will be formed. On July 4, work will start. Rs 8,500 will be transferred into the bank account of one woman from each family.”

He said Haryana showed the path of development to the country.

“A storm is brewing here. Congress ka toofan araha hai. Congress and INDIA alliance will get all seats here,” Gandhi added.

He also alleged that the BJP was “openly” saying it would “finish” the Constitution and scrap reservation.

“Leave aside BJP, there is no power in the world that can finish this book,” Gandhi said, holding a copy of the Constitution in his hand.

Congress general secretary Deepak Babaria, former chief minister B S Hooda, Haryana Congress chief Udai Bhan, party leader Kiran Choudhary and Shruti Choudhary, and Bhiwani-Mahendragarh LS candidate Rao Dan Singh were also present at the rally.

Voting for 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana will be held on May 25 in the sixth phase of the general election.

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