'Agnipath' scheme aims to make the defence forces younger
BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya's offer to hire 'Agniveers' as security guards at the party office in an effort to pacify protesters against the new military recruitment scheme, 'Agnipath', was pummelled by the opposition and also a member of his own party.
The BJP national general secretary had told reporters that young men who have completed the four-year tour of duty under the new scheme would get first preference for security guard jobs at the BJP office.
In response, Mr Kejriwal criticised the BJP leader for assuming young people who train to join the armed forces want the job of a security guard.
"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, pass the test because they want to serve the country for their whole life by joining the army, not because they want to be a guard outside the BJP office," Mr Kejriwal tweeted.
Amid the protests by military aspirants on the 'Agnipath' scheme, Mr Vijayvargiya had said 'Agniveers' would be efficient and resourceful people once they return to society after military training.
"Discipline and following orders are ingrained in military training. Once they return from the four-year training, from 17-and-half years to 23 years, even if someone joins at 21, the person would be 25 when the tour of duty ends, have Rs 11 lakh in hand and an Agniveer badge, if I have to hire a security guard for this BJP office, I will choose an Agniveer," Mr Vijayvargiya told reporters.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi also tweeted a criticism of his party colleague over the "security guard comment".
"The great army...whose valour resonates across the whole world, gets an invitation to be a chowkidar of a political office. Congratulations to the one who gave it. The Indian Army is a medium of service for Mother India, and not just another job," Mr Gandhi tweeted.
Congress communication chief Jairam Ramesh also took a swipe at the BJP leader.
As backlash against his comments intensified, the BJP leader tweeted a clarification and said his comments were twisted by the "toolkit gang".
The protests, meanwhile, continue 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.