Launching “youth panchayats” against the Agnipath scheme, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) president Chaudhary Jayant Singh on Tuesday said that the Modi government was indulging in new experiments without understanding “the temperament and traditions” of the country.
Addressing a rally in Shamli, Mr. Singh said, “With Agnipath, the government has literally pushed the youth into the fire. The only honest thing about the scheme is its nomenclature.” He said the expression of the aspirants’ anger might be wrong but one could not find fault in their emotions. “That’s why the RLD decided to be the first party to provide a platform for the youth to speak against the scheme,” he said.
Drawing parallels between the agitation against the farm laws and the agitation against the Agnipath scheme, Mr. Singh said there was a conspiracy behind the scheme. “It seems the government wants to keep the people of the region, where almost every home has a photo of an Army man, out of the armed forces. It seems Modi- ji wants to punish those who came out against the farm laws on the streets,” Mr. Singh said. A large number of Jat farmers from Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and western Uttar Pradesh participated in the agitation against the farm laws, which were eventually repealed.
He said those who had spent a lifetime in Army had told him that the scheme was designed to “destroy the regimental system of the Army”. “Two Param Vir Chakra awardees have come out in the open against the scheme. One of them has said that the Army is made to kill, not to get killed. How will you provide technical know-how to youth in six months? It’s not like training Home Guards,” Mr. Singh commented.
He appealed to the youth to not fear police pressure and come out in large numbers to peacefully speak against the scheme. Mr. Singh reminded his audience at Bhainswal panchayat in Shamli, which provided the impetus to the farmer’s agitation in western U.P., “Had you not come out in large numbers, the farm laws would have been in force today.”
Mr. Singh asked the State Government to book him instead of the youth. “In my political career, the case column is empty. If it remains so, people will disqualify me as a politician,” he remarked.
Mr. Singh will address youth panchayats across western U.P. till July 16.