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Cong seeks Agnipath withdrawal, says BJP imposing Tughlaqi decisions

All India Congress Committee national spokesperson Alka Lamba and GPCC president Jagdish Thakor demanded regular appointment of 2.55 lakh youth who have been waiting for three years.

AICC national spokesperson Alka Lamba

Demanding withdrawal of Agnipath scheme for recruitment to the armed forces, the Congress on Sunday said the BJP government  in the Centre was imposing “Tughlaqi decisions on the nation”.

Speaking at press conference in the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) office in Ahmedabad, a day ahead of its nationwide protest against the scheme, All India Congress Committee (AICC) national spokesperson Alka Lamba and GPCC president Jagdish Thakor demanded regular appointment of 2.55 lakh youth who have been waiting for three years.

“Congress demand permanent recruitment to 2.55 lakh posts that have been lying vacant for over three years… for which exams have been conducted as well as physical and medical tests done but no results announced yet. Now these posts would not be filled… A 17.5-year-old youth would retire at 21.5 years in four years. We do not accept this. This is playing with the country’s youth,” said Lamba as part of her media interactions in 20 states.

She added that when Priyanka Gandhi Vadra wrote to the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on March 29 about these posts, nothing was mentioned about the new scheme.

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Accusing the BJP government of imposing “Tughlaqi decisions” on the nation “due to which many lives have been lost”, Lamba said, “The Tughlaqi sarkar decided to roll back the farmers’ bill only after 700 farmers lost their lives. Before this, demonetisation… from 2016 till 2022. What are the results? How much black money has been caught? Then came the lockdown when lakhs of labourers lost their lives. Similarly, the GST — one nation one tax — even traders in Gujarat protested against it. And now it is the Agnipath scheme.”

Showing a copy of the letter written by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Lamba said though she was in hospital, Sonia spoke for the youth, while Prime Minis-ter Narendra Modi remained silent on the issue ever since the protests began on June 14.

“Sonia Gandhi wrote this letter from hospital to crores of youth to maintain peace and assured them that the Congress will speak up against this scheme,” Lamba said.

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Claiming that among those served the defence forces for 14 years, only two per cent got jobs, Lamba said, “How many will get jobs after four years of service? In 2017-’18, the defence budget was 17.8 per cent of the total expenditure. It should have increased in these years but in 2020-’21, it came down to 13.2 per cent. You say we do not have money for salary and pension but that is not the case. You only got defence to cut costs. Look at the Central Vista project worth Rs 25,000 crore, entire Delhi has been dug up. You should have stopped it.”

Referring to the “Jai jawan jai kisan” slogan by late PM Lal Bahadur Shastri, Lamba said now “neither jawan nor kisan is happy” saying that farmers whose children wanted to join forces are protesting.

Citing government records, Lamba said, “We demand immediate filling of 62 lakh government posts that have been lying vacant across the country… This is not the BJP-Congress battle… we want discussion in the Parliament, it should be in a democratic way.”

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Meanwhile,  the Congress has decided to organise protests across all the 182 Assembly segments in Gujarat and the rest of the country on Monday for the rollback of the Agnipath.

“The Congress will hold protests in Gandhian style on June 27 across all the villages, districts, and Assembly constituencies in the country against the Agnipath scheme. Protests will also be held across 182 Assembly constituencies in Gujarat,” Lamba said.

(With PTI inputs)

First published on: 27-06-2022 at 12:35:51 am
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