Poll strategist Prashant Kishor Sunday weighed in on the protests against the Centre’s Agnipath scheme, which have been raging in Bihar, as he talked about the war of words between the JD(U) and the BJP, who are in alliance in the eastern state.
“There should be agitation against Agnipath, not violence and sabotage. The people of Bihar are bearing the brunt of the conflict between JD(U) and the BJP. Bihar is burning and the leaders of both the parties are busy sparring and pointing fingers at each other instead of solving the matter,” tweeted Kishor.
#Agnipath पर आंदोलन होना चाहिए, हिंसा और तोड़फोड़ नहीं।
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) June 19, 2022
The protests in Bihar against the central government’s Agnipath scheme, a new defence recruitment reform, saw protesters setting vehicles ablaze and vandalising public buildings. At least 718 people have been arrested across the state since Thursday, according to a Bihar Police statement.
As the protests in Bihar gained momentum, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s state unit chief Sanjay Jaiswal had accused the Nitish Kumar-led government of its “inability to stop attacks” on the residences of BJP leaders. Jaiswal said, “Targeting people at the behest of the administration and torching offices of a particular party with police as mute spectators are unacceptable”.
“We are part of the ruling 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,” he said.
Jaiswal, whose house was vandalised by the protesters, said: “When protestors attacked my house in Bettiah district on Friday, we called the fire brigade… They said fire tenders would come only if the local administration allows it.”
Responding to Jaiwal’s allegations, JD(U)’s national chief Rajiv Ranjan alias Lalan Singh pointed to protests against the Agnipath scheme in other BJP-led states.
“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 and their concerns. Instead, the BJP is blaming the administration,” Ranjan said in a video.
“What has the administration got to do with all this? A frustrated BJP is blaming the administration for its inability to contain the anger of the agitators. Protests against this scheme are taking place in several BJP-ruled states also. Why is Jaiswal not talking about the inaction of security forces in BJP-ruled states ?” asked Ranjan.
Kishor was expelled from JD(U) in 2020 after he stepped up attacks on its alliance partner BJP over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). JD(U), on its part, had alleged that Kishor had acted against the “party’s decisions as well as its functioning”, which amounted to a breach of discipline.
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(With inputs from Press Trust of India)