Our Agnipath remarks criticism of policy not of forces within model code: Cong on EC letter


PTI, May 24, 2024, 4:57 PM IST

Days after the Election Commission asked the Congress not to “politicise” the armed forces, the party Friday said its criticism of the Agnipath military recruitment scheme was within the Model Code of Conduct, and alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “taking the support” of the poll watchdog.

Congress’ ex-Servicemen Department chief Col (retd) Rohit Chaudhry said the model code states that the “criticism of other political parties when made shall be confined to their policies, programmes, past records and work”.

The armed forces are doing a great job in protecting the country, and the Congress was only talking about the policy of the government when it made statements on the Agnipath scheme, Chaudhry told a press conference at the AICC headquarters here.

He said the Modi government has weakened the army by introducing the Agnipath scheme. “We are challenging the scheme which is not in the interest of the country, the army and the soldiers.”

Chaudhry said the Election Commission has written to Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge that the party’s star campaigners should not talk about the operational matters of the defense forces.

“Whenever Modiji gets into trouble, he looks for some support. Earlier, he used to hide behind the defence forces. Now he is taking the support of the Election Commission,” the Congress leader said. “If our government is formed, the Agnipath scheme will be scrapped.”

This scheme has created discrimination in the Army and is also weakening the security of the country, Chaudhry alleged.

The EC has asked the party not to politicise defence forces and make potentially divisive statements regarding the socioeconomic composition of the armed forces.

The Commission was referring to remarks made by top Congress leaders on the Agnipath scheme.

The government rolled out the Agnipath recruitment scheme in June 2022 for short-term induction of personnel with an aim to bring down the age profile of the three services. It provides for recruiting youngsters between the age bracket of 17-and-half years and 21 for four years with a provision to retain 25 per cent of them for 15 more years.

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