Agniveer issue takes centre stage in poll campaign in Haryana, Congress corners BJP : The Tribune India

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Agniveer issue takes centre stage in poll campaign in Haryana, Congress corners BJP

Agniveer issue takes centre stage in poll campaign in Haryana, Congress corners BJP

The first batch of the Agniveers of Parachute Regiment at the passing-out parade. ANI File Photo



Tribune News Service

Sunit Dhawan

Rohtak, May 21

The introduction of the Agniveer scheme for short-term extendable recruitment to the armed forces has become a major issue in the upcoming elections in Haryana, with the Congress cornering the BJP over the decision and announcing to resume regular recruitment upon coming to power.

The number of students preparing for jobs in the Indian Army has reduced drastically following the implementation of the Agniveer scheme. Several defence academies have closed down, while many others are on the verge of closure. — Vikas, academy owner

For a big chunk of the state’s youth, the charm of jobs in the armed forces has faded. While prior to the introduction of the scheme, it was the most sought-after service for young people.

“The number of students preparing for jobs in the Indian Army has reduced drastically following the implementation of the Agniveer scheme. Several defence academies have closed down, while many others are on the verge of closure,” rues Vikas, who runs a defence academy in Rohtak.

He conceded that owing to the sharp decline in the number of students coming for coaching to join the forces, it has become difficult to pay the rent and meet other expenses to sustain the academy.

As per residents, the service of the Armed forces used to be seen with respect and honour. However, the situation has changed with the Army sending 75 per cent of its soldiers back home after just four years of service.

“Youth in the village used to be crazy for serving the nation. It is sad to see this love having waned away after the implementation of Agniveer. One could see a large number of Army aspirants running on roads and in grounds and stadiums. But nowadays, we hardly come across youngsters preparing for these services,” observes Krishan, who has attended three Army recruitment drives.

Haryana is among the top states in the country when it comes to unemployment. A considerable number of the state’s youth used to get jobs in the Army, which is not the case after the introduction of the Agniveer scheme.

The issue is being flagged by the Oposition parties, mainly the Congress, at their public meetings and election rallies. Former Chief Minister and the leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh Hooda has promised the Congress would scrap the Agniveer scheme and restore the regular recruitment system as before.

Congress Lok Sabha candidates Deepender Singh Hooda (Rohtak) and Rao Dan Singh (Bhiwani-Mahendragarh) have also been attacking the BJP government over the issue.

The BJP leaders have found themselves in a tight spot in view of the widespread resentment prevailing amongst the state youth regarding the issue.

“They have nothing much to say to placate the resentful residents, but for claiming to have provided jobs without any ‘kharchi or parchi’ (bribes or political considerations),” says Prof Rajendra Sharma, a political scientist.

PM Modi, Rahul to visit Bhiwani-Mahendragarh

Top national leaders of the BJP and the Congress are slated to visit the Bhiwani-Mahendragarh constituency on the last leg of their respective poll campaigns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a rally in Mahendragarh on May 23 and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in the Charkhi Dadri Assembly segment of the constituency on May 22. The Congress leader is likely to take on the ruling party over the issue of unemployment and the Agniveer scheme.

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#Agniveers #BJP #Congress #Indian Army #Rohtak


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