NEW DELHI: Rahul Gandhi on Friday took potshots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi as he said that he is not ready to understand what the people of the country want.
Embattled former Congress president, who appeared before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for three consecutive days in connection with the National Herald case, alleged that PM Modi only listens to the voice of his friends.
Gandhi’s comments came in the wake of nationwide protests over the central government’s Agnipath scheme, which allowed youth to serve in the Armed forces for a period of four years,
In a tweet in Hindi, the Congress Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad said, “Agnipath – youth rejected, Agricultural Law – Farmers Rejected, Demonetisation – Economists denied, GST – Traders Rejected. The Prime Minister does not understand what the people of the country want because he does not hear anything except the voice of his ‘friends’.”
अग्निपथ – नौजवानों ने नकारा
कृषि कानून – किसानों ने नकारा
नोटबंदी – अर्थशास्त्रियों ने नकारा
GST – व्यापारियों ने नकारा
देश की जनता क्या चाहती है, ये बात प्रधानमंत्री नहीं समझते क्यूंकि उन्हें अपने ‘मित्रों’ की आवाज़ के अलावा कुछ सुनाई नहीं देता।
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) June 17, 2022
Even Gandhi’s sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanded the government to roll back the Agnipath scheme.
“Not even 24 hours passed that the BJP government had to change the rules of new army recruitment. This means the plan is being imposed on the youth in a hurry. Narendra Modiji, withdraw this scheme immediately. Give the appointment and results for Air Force recruitment that has been stopped. Do army recruitment (with age relaxation) as before,” she said in a tweet in Hindi.
24 घंटे भी नहीं बीते कि भाजपा सरकार को नई आर्मी भर्ती का नियम बदलना पड़ा
मतलब, योजना जल्दबाजी में युवाओं पर थोपी जा रही है@narendramodi जी
इस स्कीम को तुरंत वापस लीजिए
एयरफोर्स की रुकी भर्तियों में नियुक्ति और रिजल्ट दीजिए।
सेना भर्ती को (आयु में छूट देकर) पहले की तरह कीजिए
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) June 17, 2022
Slamming the government, the Congress general secretary (Organisations) KC Venugopal wrote to Jual Oram, chairman of the Parliament Standing Committee on Defence, to convene an urgent meeting to discuss the scheme in detail with all stakeholders and defence experts.
In a tweet, Venugopal, who is also the Rajya Sabha MP, said, “In the wake of widespread protests across the country over the Agnipath scheme, wrote to the Chairman, Parliament Standing Committee on Defence, which I am a member of, to convene an urgent meeting to discuss in detail the scheme with all stakeholders and defence experts.”
He also attached the letter that he sent to Oram.
In the wake of widespread protests across the country over the #AgnipathScheme, wrote to the Chairman, Parliament Standing Committee on Defence, which I am a member of, to convene an urgent meeting to discuss in detail the scheme with all stakeholders & defence experts. pic.twitter.com/o1TLAzDvel
— K C Venugopal (@kcvenugopalmp) June 17, 2022
In his letter to Oram, Venugopal said, “As you are aware the violent protests are continuing across the country over the recently announced Agniveer recruitment scheme by the central government.”
He said that there is widespread anger among the youth with regard to this scheme particularly due to its temporary nature, lack of pension and health care benefits.
Pointing out the shortcomings in the scheme, the Congress leader said, “Significantly, it is also pointed out that the scheme carries multiple risks including the subversion of the long-standing traditions of the armed forces. There is also wide apprehension that the soldiers recruited under the scheme may lack the required training in the proposed short span of six months.
“For all the obvious reasons, it is evident that the scheme is poorly conceived and hastily drawn up without any wide consultations with stakeholders,” he said.
The Union Cabinet on Tuesday approved a recruitment scheme for Indian youth to serve in the Armed Forces. It said that the youth selected under this scheme will be known as Agniveers.
It also said that the Agnipath scheme allows patriotic and motivated youth to serve in the armed forces for a period of four years. It also said that youngsters between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure, while 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained for regular service.
However, following the protests across the country on Thursday, the government said that the upper age limit for the recruitment process for the Agnipath scheme for 2022 is increased to 23 years owing to COVID-19.
Even on Friday, the violent protests were witnessed in several states with the youths torching several trains and damaging several vehicles.
Due to agitation over the Agnipath scheme, the Indian Railways said that operations of 316 trains were affected.
The railway ministry said that as of 4.30 pm on Friday, it had cancelled 80 mail or express trains and 134 passenger trains. It further said that it has partially cancelled 61 mail or express and 30 passenger trains while diverting 11 mail or express trains.