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Vijayvargiya faces backlash over Agniveer remark, slams toolkit gang

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Sunday alleged that the "toolkit gang" twisted his comments on 'Agniveers'

Kailash Vijayvargiya met Mithun Chakraborty at the latter's residence in Belgachia, Kolkata (Photo: ANI)

Kailash Vijayvargiya

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya on Sunday alleged that the "toolkit gang" twisted his comments on 'Agniveers'.
The BJP leader had said that he would give priority to Agnipath recruits for security jobs at his BJP office.
"I will give preference to an Agniveer to hire him as security in BJP office, even you can. One of my friends hired a 35-year-old retired army personnel as his security guard stating that he has faith in him. He is a soldier so I am not scared. This means a soldier is the name of self-confidence," Vijayvargiya had said.
Clarifying his remarks, he said that all he meant was the excellence of these soldiers will be utilised in whichever field they go to after completing their tenure.
"Agniveers who complete their service under the Agnipath scheme will definitely be trained and committed to their duties. This excellence will be utilised in the fields they choose after completing service in the army. This was what I clearly meant," he tweeted.
He further said that the nation is well aware of the conspiracies of this toolkit gang against the national heroes-religionists.
"People associated with the toolkit gang are trying to insult the workers by distorting my statement. This would be an insult to the 'karmveers' of the country. The nation is well aware of the conspiracies of this toolkit gang against the 'rashtraveeron-dharmaveeron'," he added.
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, Congress MP KC Venugopal, BJP leader Varun Gandhi, and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal slammed Vijayvargiya for his remark.
Jairam Ramesh on Sunday took a jibe at BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya's remark that he would prefer to employ an Agniveer for security at the party office, and asked whether this is what the BJP meant when it launched the Main Bhi Chowkidaar campaign before the 2019 general polls.
Responding to the remark of the BJP leader, Ramesh tweeted, "Now we know what the BJP really meant when they launched the campaign in 2019, 'Main Bhi Chowkidaar'..."
Congress MP KC Venugopal took a jibe at Vijayvargiya and said somebody from the BJP clarified all doubts about the recruitment scheme.
"Finally, somebody from the BJP clarified all doubts on the Agnipath scheme. Our Jawans are our pride. A true patriot will never insult them," he said in a tweet.
Varun Gandhi slammed Vijayvargiya and said the army is a medium to serve mother India.
"Our great army's heroic tales cannot be expressed with mere words and its valour echoes in the entire world," Gandhi said, accusing the BJP national general secretary of offering the job of a "chowkidar" (watchman) to soldiers after retirement. Indian Army is a means to serve mother India, not merely a job," he said.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal termed it an insult to the youth and army personnel of the country.
"Do not disrespect the youth and army personnel of the country so much. The youth of our country work hard day and night to pass the physical exam and clear test because they want to serve the country and not because they want to be a guard outside the BJP office," Kejriwal said in a tweet.
The newly launched Agnipath scheme has snowballed into a controversy with protests taking place in several states.
A total of 46,000 Agniveers will be recruited this year but a top military officer said it will go up to 1.25 lakhs in near future. The entry age for all new recruits in the Armed Forces has been fixed as 17.5 to 21 years of age. However, following protests, the Central government announced an increase in the upper age limit for the recruitment of Agniveers from 21 years to 23 years for the recruitment cycle of 2022 as it has not been possible to undertake the recruitment during the last two years.
While the government points out that the 'Agnipath' scheme gives a golden opportunity to the youth to join the defence system and serve the country, Congress had said the recruitment policy is controversial, carries multiple risks, subverts the long-standing traditions and ethos of the armed forces and there is no guarantee that the soldiers recruited under the scheme will be better trained and motivated to defend the country.
Agniveers will be enrolled for a service duration of 4 years including the training period. After four years, only 25 per cent of the Agniveers will be retained or re-enlisted in the regular cadre based on merit, willingness and medical fitness. These 25 per cent Agniveers will then serve for a full term of another 15 years.
As the protests continue, a senior Army officer on Sunday clarified that the scheme will not be rolled back and said that it is the "only progressive step to make the country young".
Meanwhile, the registration process for the first batch of Agniveers under the Centre's new Agnipath recruitment scheme will begin on June 24 and the online examination would be held on July 24.
Congress has urged the government to keep the Agnipath scheme in abeyance, hold wide consultations with serving and retired officers, and address the issues of quality, efficiency and economy without compromising on any of the three considerations.
Addressing the concerns over the future of Agniveers and their job security, the Centre approved a proposal to reserve 10 per cent of the job vacancies in the Ministry of Defence for Agniveers meeting requisite eligibility criteria and also decided to give priority to them in the recruitment of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and Assam Rifles.
Several state governments like Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Karnataka have announced to Agniveers priority in state government jobs.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 20 2022 | 8:37 AM IST

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