• PTI

Congress holds 'Satyagraha' against Agnipath scheme, questioning of Rahul Gandhi by ED

New Delhi, Jun 20 (PTI) The Congress on Monday held a 'Satyagraha' here against the Centre's Agnipath scheme and questioning of Rahul Gandhi by the Enforcement Directorate, saying the government has "betrayed" the youth with the new military recruitment model and is indulging in "vendetta politics" by targeting the former party chief.


Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, party's leader in the Lok Sabha Adir Ranjan Chowdhury, senior leaders Sachin Pilot, Salman Khurshid, Mallikarjun Kharge and K C Venugopal took part in the protest, which saw the participation of over 500 people.



Speaking at the sit-in at Jantar Mantar, Gehlot attacked the government, saying it spoke about bringing back black money and promised jobs but nothing materialised.


"They're selling off every asset of the country instead. They're trying to scare Congress and Rahul Gandhi by misusing the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), ED and the Income Tax department. But it is the BJP and the NDA government who are scared. Everyone is worried and no one knows where this country is headed," Gehlot said.


In his remarks, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel demanded the withdrawal of the Agnipath scheme and alleged that the Centre is behaving "disgracefully" with those who protect the borders of India.


He claimed that the future of the youth, the country's border and security would be in "danger" with this scheme.


Referring to BJP leader Kailash Vijayvargiya's remarks apparently suggesting that he will give priority to 'Agniveers' for security jobs at his party office, Baghel alleged that the central government wants to make everyone 'chowkidar (watchman)'.


He also raised questions over the ED action in the National Herald money laundering case and said that Rahul Gandhi raised his voice against inflation, unemployment and Rafale scam, and because of that the Centre was looking to "crush" his voice.



The BJP wants to weaken the Congress by trying to defame Rahul Gandhi through the ED, Baghel said, adding that the only objective of BJP is to silence the voice which has become the voice of the oppressed people.


Addressing the gathering, Congress leader Sachin Pilot appealed to the youth to maintain peace and not indulge in violence and vandalism.


The central government has betrayed the Army and the youth of this country, he alleged.


"They should've approached the youth, spoken to them about the scheme and accordingly designed the scheme," he stressed.


"Now that Rahul Gandhi is raising voice against the Modi government, they're trying to scare him by misusing ED and CBI. They only want to deceive the country and the youth. These protests are also a mark of unity in this country," Pilot said.


Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Hooda said the country is going through troubled times.


He said the entire party is standing with Rahul Gandhi against the alleged politicisation of investigative agencies which is "weakening" democracy.


He also hit out at the Centre over the Agnipath scheme, saying he was not opposing the scheme due to political reasons but was doing so as it was neither in the interest of the army nor the youth.


Another party leader Kanhaiya Kumar said the Modi government is playing with the emotions of the youth. He also asserted that no Congress worker will tolerate anyone pointing fingers at Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and the party's fight against injustice will continue.



Speaking at the protest, senior Congress leader and former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is behaving like Adolf Hitler and will die like Hitler" if he follows the path of the German dictator.


The Congress, however, distanced itself from the statement made by Sahai, saying it does not endorse any indecent remarks against the prime minister.


Protests have erupted in various parts of the country after the Centre unveiled the Agnipath scheme last Tuesday to recruit youngsters aged between 17-and-a-half and 21 years in the army, navy and air force, largely on a four-year contractual basis. The government later relaxed the upper age limit for this year's recruitment to 23.


Rahul Gandhi on Monday appeared before the ED for the fourth day of questioning in the National Herald money laundering case.