Modi govt broke 'sacred relationship' with soldiers by bringing in Agnipath scheme, says Rahul during Bharat Jodo Yatra in MP
Burhanpur (MP), Nov 23 (PTI) Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday accused the Narendra Modi government of breaking the "sacred relationship" with soldiers by introducing the Agnipath scheme.
He said the government has brought the scheme that would turn youths jobless for life after mere four years of service as Agniveers.
Gandhi was addressing a public meeting organised in Burhanpur city of Madhya Pradesh after the Bharat Jodo Yatra led by him entered the state from neighbouring Maharashtra on Wednesday.
The Congress leader's sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her husband Robert Vadra reached Indore on Wednesday to take part in the yatra from Thursday.
"Earlier, the government used to protect the interests of the youths, who would the Army and take the oath of protecting the national flag throughout their lives. But (by bringing in Agnipath scheme for recruitment of Agniveers), the Modi government has broken this sacred relationship," he said.
Referring to the collapse of the Kamal Nath-led Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in March 2020 after 15 months of coming to power, Gandhi accused the BJP of buying corrupt MLAs for crores of rupees.
"We have started the Bharat Jodo Yatra because all our democratic avenues are being closed," he said.
The Kamal Nath government collapsed after 22 of its legislators led by senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia, who was then with the Congress, resigned from the party and later joined the BJP. This paved the way for BJP's Shivraj Singh Chouhan to become the state chief minister for the fourth term.
On Wednesday morning, the yatra, which had started on September 7 from Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu, entered Bodarli village in Burhanpur district. At the time of the foot march's entry into Madhya Pradesh, Gandhi said their campaign was against hatred, violence and fear being spread in the society.
A large number of Congressmen carrying the tricolour in their hands reached Bodarli to join the foot march. Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole handed over the tricolour to his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Kamal Nath to formally launch the 12-day-long yatra in the central state, where it will cover a distance of 380 km before entering Rajasthan.
Bodarli, a village with a population of nearly 6,000, was decorated with banana leaves as the region is known for the cultivation of the fruit.
Folk artists welcomed the yatra on its arrival in Madhya Pradesh.
On the occasion, Gandhi said, "This yatra is against hatred, violence and fear being spread in the country. We have started the Bharat Jodo Yatra by taking the tricolour in our hands from Kanyakumari. Nobody can stop this tricolour from reaching Srinagar." Targeting the central government on the issues of unemployment and inflation, Gandhi alleged, "The BJP first spreads fear in the minds of youth, farmers and labourers and when it sets in, they convert it into violence." He called five-year-old boy Rudra, who was among the crowd present in the village, on the stage and asked him about his ambition, to which the child said he wanted to become a doctor.
In the present India, it will be difficult for Rudra to fulfil his dreams as his parents have to spend crores of rupees to get education in private medical colleges. He will have to work as a labourer as he won't be able to pay the fees, Gandhi said targeting the growing trend of privatisation of education in the country.
He also claimed that industries, airports and seaports were in the hands of only three-four industrialists in the country. Even the Railways is also going into their hands, he added.
This is an India of injustice and we don't want such an India, Gandhi said.
The money going out of the pockets of the common man for purchasing costly petrol and cooking gas is going into the pockets of these three-four industrialists, he claimed.
Welcoming the yatra in Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath claimed it will be most successful in the state.
Senior Congress leaders, including former chief minister Digvijaya Singh, Leader of Opposition in the MP Assembly Govind Singh, former union ministers Suresh Pachouri and Arun Yadav, among others were present on the occasion.
The Congress has made elaborate arrangements for the yatra in MP, where the Assembly polls are due next year.
It had lost power in the state in 2020 after a section of its MLAs quit the party.
The yatra, a mass contact initiative of the Congress, will pass through western Madhya Pradesh's Malwa-Nimar region, where the party had gained a convincing lead over the BJP in the 2018 Assembly polls and subsequently formed a government under Nath.
Gandhi's Yatra is scheduled to enter Rajasthan on December 4 after covering 380-kms in Malwa-Nimar region of Madhya Pradesh during next 12-days. PTI HWP ADU MAS GK NP NP