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Congress has already termed Manish Tewari’s remarks about the Agnipath scheme as his personal opinion.New Delhi: Congress high command is reportedly unhappy with Congress MP Manish Tewari, who is part of the Consultative Committee for Defence in Parliament, after he refused to sign the Opposition’s memorandum seeking withdrawal of the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme.Mr Tiwari in a tweet, ’empathising’ with youth who had concerns over the scheme, said, “Reality is that India needs a younger armed force with lighter human footprint savvy on technology, equipped with state of the art weaponry.”There is an outrage within the party against Manish Tewari who has openly supported the Agnipath scheme contrary to the party’s stand.The displeasure increased following his refusal to sign the Opposition’s memorandum for the withdrawal of the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme.In the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence, a demand was made by the Opposition for the withdrawal of the Agnipath recruitment scheme. Out of the total of 12 MPs in the meeting, six were from Opposition parties – Rajni Patil, Shaktisinh Gohil and Manish Tewari of the Congress, Supriya Sule of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Sudip Bandyopadhyay and Saugata Roy of the Trinamool Congress (TMC), and AD Singh from the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).All six, except Mr Tewari, signed a memorandum for the withdrawal of the scheme.During discussions within the party, Manish Tiwari is even called the ‘Subramanian Swamy of Congress’.Meanwhile, Congress has already termed Manish’s remarks about the Agnipath scheme as his personal opinion and not the party’s stand.Will Congress suspend or expel Manish Tewari. But as per sources, suspension of Manish is also being discussed but disciplinary action may also be considered for not toeing the party line.If he is expelled from the party then all he will continue to remain as a Member of Parliament. Therefore, the suspension seems a better decision to keep him trapped, stated a party source.”The matter is stuck in view of Manish’s association with the party during the time of NSUI. The ball is in the high command’s court.Now, the relationship between Manish and Congress is very weak. Either Manish changes his stand or else action can be taken against him soon,” added the party source.The Opposition, in the meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee on Defence, also condemned the government for dragging the army into politics. It also asked the government why the personnel from the armed forces were holding press conferences instead of politicians.However, the opposition parties expressed their reservations about the Agnipath scheme.They spoke about “huge unemployment” in the country being the reason for a large number of applications for the scheme.”The Opposition said that the fact that people have applied in large numbers for the scheme is significant as there is huge unemployment in the country and asked why the government was not addressing it?” said the sources.”The Army is a strategic unit and it is responsible for the security and safety of the country so if a person works in the unit for four years and then leaves, what is the assurance that he or she will not compromise the security of the country. A classic example is what happened to Japanese former PM Shinzo Abe who was shot by ex-military personnel,” added the sources.The sources further quoted the opposition leaders as saying that it has been seen in various scenarios, including in Russia and Ukraine, that a long-serving army is more effective and powerful as it goes through rigorous training and exposure.”Why should the army be weakened by temporary recruitments?… The opposition told Rajnath Singh that former CDS Bipin Rawat was also in favour of long recruitments. So why is it that the government does not even adhere to the advice given by the nation’s first chief of defence staff?” said the sources.The Agnipath Scheme, which was approved by the cabinet on June 14, was launched in an effort to bring a change in the recruitment process of the Armed Forces.With the new military recruitment scheme facing criticism, the Centre decided to grant a one-time waiver and on June 16 announced that the upper age limit for recruitment via Agnipath Scheme has been extended to 23 years from 21 years.The Ministry of Defence, in its statement in June 2022, said that the Agnipath scheme has been designed to enable a youthful profile of the Armed Forces.(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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