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Bihar's Agnipath agitation becomes a funnel for anti-Centre, anti-BJP discontent

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<br>Experts believe that the Centre had not fully discussed the consequences of such a scheme which is related to the future of the country’s youth.

"The think tank of the saffron party believes that whatever be the consequences of any policies or schemes, the aura of PM Narendra Modi is such that people of the country have faith in him. The situation has now changed due to the anti-people policies of the Centre for the last 8 years," said a professor of Patna University who requested anonymity.

The BJP think tank believes that the Narendra Modi government implemented demonetisation and the people supported him in the name of black money being unearthed. Then he implemented the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to reduce tax related frauds which actually broke the backbone of small traders, industrialists and retailers. Then he came with the three farm bills which led to a massive agitation and over 800 famers lost their lives and now the Agnipath scheme which the youths believe can make their future darker. All these policies have penalized the common people of the country and now they are not in the mood to take any more burden that the BJP government may try to put on them, say political analysts.

"Narendra Modi during the run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha election had given a solid assurance to the people to create 2 crore jobs annually and double the income of farmers till 2022. Now, in the eight years gone by he has not only failed to fulfil the promises but the result of his policies went in the opposite directions," said Shivanand Tiwari, national vice president of the RJD.

"The jobs are reducing in the country and Modi Ji brought drones into the agricultural fields. In this scenario, children of poor and lower middle class families are preparing for the recruitment exams. In the last two years, recruitment has not taken place in the Indian army. In some places, recruitment had taken place but was not completed. In this situation, Modi Ji brought the Agnipath scheme overnight similar to the implementation of demonetisation. Such an overnight move has killed the dreams of thousands of youths who were preparing for the examination for long years," Tiwari said.

"The way the youth have turned violent on the streets and their abusive slogans indicate that the aura and popularity of Narendra Modi is waning now," Tiwary said.

BJP MLA Vinay Bihari who faced the heat of the agitation on June 17 when he was returning from Lauria said: "Around 200 agitators holding batons in their hands intercepted my Mahindra Bolero SUV and smashed the window panes. I had two armed guards but they were helpless. The agitators were abusing Modi Ji."

The agitation is now taking a dangerous turn as anti-social elements are apparently actively participating in the protests to destabilise the Narendra Modi government.

Analysts say many people believe that the BJP has a hidden agenda to separate society into majority (Hindu) and minority (Muslims). As the latter are not in a position to challenge the saffron party openly, they are either supporting or actively participating in the agitation. In other words, they are putting their guns on the shoulders of the youths to target the Modi government.

On Thursday and Friday, anti-social elements had specifically targeted the offices and properties of BJP leaders in Bihar. They have targeted the houses of Sanjay Jaiswal, the BJP state president in Bettiah, Deputy CM Renu Devi in Bettiah, BJP MLA Vinay Bihari in Lauria in West Champaran district, and damaged the property of Dr CN Singh in Chapra while the BJP MLA from Warsaliganj was attacked in Nawada. The agitators have also set fire to BJP offices in Nawada, Madhepura, Vaishali and other places.

Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Renu Devi faced the heat on Friday morning when a large number of youths attacked her house in Bettiah town and pelted stones at her property.

"The students of the country do not understand the Agnipath scheme properly. Our students cannot do wrong acts and indulge in violence. Those who are involved in violence are the goons of the opposition parties who are trying to destabilize the government. Agnipath scheme is related to military training which the Centre wants to give to the youths of the country," Renu Devi said.

BJP leaders are also trying to blame the state government for its failure to stop the violence.

"Those who attacked my house were definitely not job aspirants of the defence forces. It was a well planned conspiracy to attack my house. They are other people who posed as job aspirants and vandalized my house in Bettiah," Sanjay Jaiswal, the BJP state president, said.

"The way the protesters have attacked the houses of BJP leaders and the party’s offices in different cities, only the administration of different districts is responsible for it. They have taken a lackadaisical approach to deal with the agitators," Jaiswal said.

The ruling JD-U immediately responded to the statements of Sanjay Jaiswal and Renu Devi. Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh, the national president of the JD-U, countered them saying that whatever violence was happening in the country was only due to the Centre.

"There is huge discontent among the youth of the country after the announcement of the Agnipath scheme. Violence has spread to many parts of the country. The Centre should take cognizance of the matter and immediately rethink the scheme. If it is not possible then properly communicate to the youth that it would not adversely affect their careers in the future," Lalan Singh said.

The students who have been protesting for the last four days against the Agnipath scheme are claiming that it is suicidal for a youth if he joins the army under this scheme.

"A youth needs at least one year of proper military training to become an army jawan and it takes at least 5 to 6 years for an army jawan to perform duty at the border. Under the Agnipath scheme, there is a provision of 6 months training and deployment anywhere in the country including on the Pakistan and China borders. A partially skilled soldier cannot survive on the border, it would be suicidal not only for that soldier but also for the entire post," said Ram Prakash Singh, a job aspirant who is preparing for the army recruitment examination for the last 5 years.

Another job aspirant Rakesh Kumar said: "The six month military training is similar to militant groups providing military training to the fidayeen (sucide squad). They (militant groups) give 3 to 6 months training and send them into the enemy countries on suicide missions. Does the central government want to form a new suicide regiment through Agniveers. The Narendra Modi government should clarify the details of military training of how it could train youths in six months through the Agnipath scheme."

–Ajit Weekly News <br>ajk/bg

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