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Congress berates Manish Tewari for second time in 15 days over Agnipath

The Times of India logo The Times of India 30-06-2022
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NEW DELHI: The controversial Agnipath scheme triggered inhouse warfare in the Congress on Wednesday, as party MP Manish Tewari lauded the short-term recruitment plan as much-needed reform measure in the defence forces, and the party moved with alacrity to disown it and slam the measure as a threat to national security.

This is the second occasion in last fortnight that Congress has publicly berated Tewari, suggesting a growing schism between them.

AICC spokesman Jairam Ramesh tweeted, "Manish Tewari, INC MP, has written an article on Agnipath. While Congress is the only democratic party, it must be said his views are entirely his own and not of the party, which firmly believes Agnipath is anti-national security and anti-youth, bulldozed through without discussion."

The distancing related to a media article where Tewari argued that defence forces across nations have moved their focus from supremacy of numbers of troops to technology and other factors, and lauded Agnipath as a next generation reform measure. He said the Kargil Review Committee had recommended that tenure of soldiers be slashed from 17 years to 7-10 years.

While Tewari responded to Ramesh's rebuttal by tweeting that the footnote in the article mentioned they were his personal views, this is the second occasion when the MP and the party have clashed in recent days. Earlier, when the Congress protests over Agnipath were in full flow, Tewari had lauded the new scheme that touched off protests and arson across states. A tweet by a TV channel mentioning Tewari's views resulted in a caustic counter by Congress MP Saptgiri Ulaka who wrote, "With due respect, instead of Congress' Manish Tewari mention in the tweet below, just Manish Tewari would have sufficed in this context. Clearly our stand on Agnipath Scheme is different and has already been communicated by people responsible." Tewari had reacted angrily to the sarcastic remark.

The repeated clash between Congress and Tewari, however, is seen as going beyond Agnipath, and suggesting that the MP is not happy in Congress since the party defeat in Punjab and the ejection of former CM Amarinder Singh. Tewari has also been tweeting critically about Congress's dwindling fortunes in states. However, with around two years left in the Lok Sabha tenure, neither side appears to be moving towards a break-up for now.

In 6 days, IAF gets 2 lakh applications

The IAF has received over two lakh applications under the Agnipath recruitment scheme within six days of launch of the registration process, the defence ministry said on Wednesday. The registration process that began on June 24 had seen filing of 94,281 applications by Monday and 56,960 applications till Sunday. After the scheme was unveiled on June 14, protests against it rocked several states for nearly a week. (Agencies)

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