New Delhi: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has expressed her views on Centre’s controversial Agnipath army recruitment scheme. In the assembly session on Monday (June 20), she said, “Agneepath is actually a project to create a BJP cadre. They will help to steal votes. Guard the party office. The BJP has actually given this lollipop of four years to create goons.” The Centre, on June 14, announced a new scheme of recruiting youth in the Army on contract basis for four years.
Congress’ Satyagraha against Agnipath scheme
Since the scheme’s announcement, there have been violent protests going on in different parts of the country. The Congress has also started a satyagraha against Agneepath at Jantar Mantar in Delhi from Sunday (June 19). The ailing Sonia Gandhi, Congress’ interim President, extended support to the agitators from the hospital. This time, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata also criticised the Centre’s defence policy in the assembly.
Mamata criticises Agnipath scheme, asks ‘Is BJP making a gangster?’
The Chief Minister has made her views clear on BJP leaders’ actions in several recent debates, ranging from Nupur Sharma’s remarks to bulldozers, in the Assembly session on Monday. She criticised the Centre’s project when the issue of Agneepath came up. Mamata said, “It is different if the Centre gives permanent jobs to the youth. But Agneepath is actually a four-year-old lollipop. Mamata’s question: “After four years, they will have the approval of firearms. What will they do after that? Is the BJP making a gangster?”
Mamata emerging as popular opposition leader
Mamata’s name is emerging as one of the popular faces of opposition parties in the country. Representatives of opposition parties also attended a meeting called by Mamata on the presidential candidate recently. In the meantime, there was curiosity about what Mamata’s position on Agneepath was.
On Monday, her stand was made clear in the assembly. She said the BJP, which is in power at the Centre, wants to create its own cadre. Mamata had earlier questioned the surveillance of central forces during polling in the state. On Monday, she said, “They will loot the BJP’s votes. The party will guard the office.’’
BJP leader’s controversial comment on Agniveers
On Sunday, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya had said that those who come out as ‘Agniveers’ will be appointed as guards of the BJP office later. Speaking at a BJP office in Indore, Kailash Vijayvargiya said, “If I have to keep security guards in the BJP office, I will give priority to agniveers.” Mamata’s fears about the firebirs are probably a reflection of that comment.
However, when Mamata was making the remarks in the Assembly, Trinamool’s All-India General Secretary Abhishek Banerjee, referring to Kailash’s Agniveer remarks in Tripura, said, “The BJP leader’s comments on Agniveer are highly condemnable, if any Trinamool leader had done such a thing, he would have been expelled.”