From BJP Over 'Agnipath', Stinker For Nitish Kumar, Security For Leaders

Bihar has seen the worst spate of violence among states with protesters setting trains on BJP fire, vandalising stations and attacking BJP leaders offices, homes and cars.

From BJP Over 'Agnipath', Stinker For Nitish Kumar, Security For Leaders

Agnipath protests: Several BJP offices have been attacked by protesters.


In a major indictment of the Bihar government, in which it is the senior partner, the BJP on Saturday accused the state administration of "not doing anything" to tackle the violence over the 'Agnipath' scheme while the central government announced special security for the party's leaders in the state.

Two MPs and eight BJP legislators, including two Deputy Chief Ministers, of the BJP were given the third-highest 'Y' Category security by the central government amid the massive backlash against the short-term military recruitment programme that has angered job-seekers.

According to BJP sources, the decision to provide extra security was cleared by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is not pleased with the way Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar handled the situation in the last three days as party offices were attacked and the police failed to control angry mobs.

Since the programme was announced on Tuesday, Bihar has seen the worst spate of violence among states, with protesters setting trains on fire, vandalising stations and attacking BJP leaders' offices, homes and cars.

The protesters are upset that the Agnipath programme will lay off 75 per cent of the recruits after four years, without the traditional retirement benefits that make India's armed forces a lucrative option for its rural youth.

The heightened security for BJP leaders came shortly after the state party chief, whose home was vandalised by 'Agnipath' protesters a day ago, criticised the state government over what he called inadequate efforts to stop violent protests in the state.

In especially strong comments, Sanjay Jaiswal appeared to criticise Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose Janata Dal (United), or JDU, is in alliance with the BJP in the state, saying, "Everyone has a right to protest, there's nothing wrong in that, we all have different views. But giving protesters a free hand, the administration not doing anything to stop attacks on a leader's property, this is not right."

"When we called the fire brigade, they said fire trucks will come only if the local administration officer allows it," a visibly upset Mr Jaiwal told reporters on Saturday, 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.

Besides his, Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Renu Devi's home and several BJP offices were also vandalised by the protesters.

Hitting back at the comments, JD(U) national chief Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh accused the party's ally of unnecessarily blaming the state government 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.

"What has the administration got to do with all this? A frustrated BJP is blaming the administration over its inability to contain the anger of the protesters," Mr Ranjan said.