Election strategist Prashant Kishor has waded into the controversy surrounding the new military recruitment scheme 'Agnipath', especially the violent protests in Bihar, where the BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) are in power in an alliance.
Mr Kishor, who was sacked by Mr Kumar as his party's No. 2 in 2020, pointed at the new friction between the two alliance partners over attacks by 'Agnipath' protesters on BJP leaders' homes in Bihar.
"For Agnipath, there should be agitation, not violence and sabotage. The people of Bihar are bearing the brunt of the conflict between JDU (Janata Dal United) and BJP. Bihar is burning and the leaders of both the parties are busy sparring and counter-alleging each other instead of solving the matter," Mr Kishor tweeted.
#Agnipath पर आंदोलन होना चाहिए, हिंसा और तोड़फोड़ नहीं।— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) June 19, 2022
बिहार की जनता #JDU और #BJP के आपसी तनातनी का ख़ामियाज़ा भुगत रही है। बिहार जल रहा है और दोनों दल के नेता मामले को सुलझाने के बजाए एक दूसरे पर छींटाकशी और आरोप प्रत्यारोप में व्यस्थ हैं।
Bihar's BJP chief, whose home was vandalised by 'Agnipath' protesters, yesterday criticised the Nitish Kumar government over what he called inadequate efforts to stop violent protests in the state. Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi's home and several BJP offices were also vandalised by the protesters.
"When we called the fire brigade, they said fire trucks will come only if the local administration officer allows it," a visibly upset Sanjay Jaiswal, the Bihar BJP chief, told reporters yesterday, alluding to inaction by state officials to prevent the attack at his home in Bihar's Bettiah town on Friday. "We are part of the state government alliance, but something like this has not happened anywhere in the country, it is happening only in Bihar. As a leader of the BJP, I condemn this incident and if this is not stopped, it won't be good for anyone," the Bihar BJP chief told reporters.
Mr Kumar's party took note of the BJP leader's aggressive warnings. JD(U) MP Rajiv Ranjan shot back at the alliance partner for unnecessarily blaming the JD(U) over the protests.
"The central government took a decision. There are protests in other states too. Young people are concerned about their future, so they came out to protest. Of course violence is not the way. We can't accept violence. But the BJP should also listen to what is worrying these young people, their concerns. Instead, the BJP is blaming the administration. What would the administration do?" Mr Ranjan said in a video statement, adding a "frustrated BJP is blaming the administration over its inability to contain the anger of the protesters."
The protests, meanwhile, continues in some states, the most intense being in Uttar Pradesh, Telangana and Bihar. The centre has announced several concessions amid the protests. There will be a 10 per cent quota in Defence Ministry jobs, spread across the Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 defence public sector undertakings. This reservation would be in addition to existing reservation for ex-servicemen.
On top of all this, the government announced 10 per cent reservation for 'Agniveers' in the Central Armed Police Forces, or CAPFs, and the Assam Rifles, which comes under the Defence Ministry.