Mallikarjun Kharge rakes up a storm in Rajya Sabha, demands scrapping of Agniveer

Mallikarjun Kharge today alleged the government sidelined the Opposition and made the Constitution a poll issue. He also suggested the scrapping of the Agniveer scheme.
Mallikarjun Kharge rakes up a storm in Rajya Sabha, demands scrapping of Agniveer

Congress leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, on Monday demanded the Agniveer Scheme be scrapped. He also alleged the Opposition was sidelined in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, and attacked the ruling party for only giving slogans and not doing development work.

"The morale of the youth has been shattered by bringing an unplanned and 'tughlaqi' scheme like Agniveer," Kharge said in the Rajya Sabha.

"I demand that Agniveer Scheme be scrapped," he added, participating in the discussion on the Motion of Thanks to the President's address in the Rajya Sabha.

(Under the Agnipath Scheme, which was rolled out in June 2022 as part of the defence modernisation, youth are recruited for four years, and they are called 'agniveers'. After four years of service, 25 per cent of agniveers will be retained, while the rest of them will be released.)

In its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections 2024, the Congress has promised to scrap this new recruitment scheme and return to the older one where soldiers were recruited for 16 years of service.

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Mallikarjun Kharge rakes up a storm in Rajya Sabha, demands scrapping of Agniveer

Kharge also said the Lok Sabha elections 2024 was the first one to make the Constitution an issue.

"Elections can only be conducted when there's a Constitution. Some people object to anyone even talking about the Constitution, but are okay with making it a poll issue," Kharge said.

"...And today, when we talk about democracy, there are provisions in the constitution like Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Chairman, Deputy Chairman, but leaving that post vacant for five years, is this a democratic way?" Kharge asked.

"The Opposition was sidelined, while the post of the deputy speaker has been lying vacant (for the past five years)."

(The INDIA bloc parties have been demanding the appointment of a deputy speaker in the Lok Sabha from the opposition ranks.)

Slamming the Central government, Kharge said, "They have been working against the Constitution."

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is an expert only at giving slogans, Manipur has been burning for the last year, but the PM did not visit the state," Kharge said.

"Opposition parties talk about the plight of the common man, while Modi Ji does only 'Mann Ki Baat'," he said.

Accusing PM Modi of trying to divide society through his speeches during the polls, Kharge said no prime minister has done this before.

The Congress chief also alleged President Droupadi Murmu's Parliament speech on June 27 lacked direction and vision.

"The President is the most important part of the Parliament, we respect the President."

"This year, the President’s first address was in January and the second in June. The first address was for elections and the second was a copy of it. There was nothing for Dalits, minority sections and the backward classes in her address. There was neither vision nor direction in the President's address. Like the last time, it was just about full of words of appreciation for the government," Kharge said.

Further, the Congress chief also appealed to the Rajya Sabha chairman to put back statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Ambedkar, and others in their original places in the Parliament complex.

Source: India Today

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