Agnipath sends BJP in line of fire


Photo Credit Twitter @Begusarairjd

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By Our Special Correspondent

New Delhi, June 17: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre squirming over the unveiling of the Agnipath scheme, the youth in a number of states have gone rampaging on the streets, singling out the homes of the BJP leaders in Bihar for their targets.

While the youth in Bihar took the lead to launch the protests against the Agnipath scheme on Thursday, others too have joined in the spontaneous outbursts in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi.

The Delhi Police have on Friday clamped a kind of traffic shutdown in the central parts, shutting down the exit gates of the Delhi Metro while putting up roadblocks elsewhere.

In Bihar, the fury of the youth is only growing in intensity. They have targeted the homes of the BJP state chief Sanjay Jaiswal and the Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi, besides torching a number of train bogeys in the state.

The protests against the Agnipath scheme gained intensity on Friday even while the government late evening yesterday relaxed the upper age limit for the scheme on the grounds that the youth who had been preparing for the Army recruitment for past two years would het opportunity this year, as part of a one time-exception.

The Army recruitment had been on hold since 2020.

The anger of the youth in Bihar is clearly aimed at the BJP leaders and the party assets. This could be seen in political colour amid the approaching Presidential elections and the state Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s growing discomfort with the BJP. But that would be too naïve.

The Army recruitment is a much valued source of employment in the rural parts of Bihar. The youth look upon the Army employment as the means to break out of the poverty trap in the absence of alternative employment opportunities within the state and elsewhere where those hailing from the rural parts find disadvantaged on the grounds of language and skills. At best, such youth find employment opportunities in the farm sector in states like Punjab and Haryana where they face harassments and exploitations.

So, the anger of the youth against the BJP in Bihar could be explained for the fact that the party while being in power in the state utterly failed to create employment opportunities and the government led by it at the Centre is unveiling a scheme that will make them a contractual class for four years.

The youth in Bihar have seen the worst days in the reent years after they were made to walk thousands of kilometers after the train services and other transport means were abruptly shut down after the announcement of the lockdown in the country in the wake of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. That memory must be fresh among the youth of Bihar.

Equally significant is the fact that while the farm agitation against the Modi government, which forced the Centre to take back those four laws, was limited to Punjab and the western parts of UP, the youth anger on the street against the Agnipath scheme is much widespread to give any room for comfort for the spin masters of the government to find an escape route.

The Central government has already unleashed all its communication arsenals to douse the fire on the street against the Agnipath scheme. But the fire continues to rage only.

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