Despite launching scathing attacks against the Agnipath, the Union government proposed short-entry service scheme in the Indian armed forces, the seriousness of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in her opposition on this count is being questioned in her own state.
Both Congress and the Left Parties have described her attacks on the floor of the house as a mere "eyewash" and part of her clandestine understanding with the BJP.
According to the state Congress president in West Bengal and senior party Lok Sabha member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, if she is serious about her opposition on this count, she would bring in a resolution against it in the state Assembly and get it passed as done by the Rajasthan government.
"If the chief minister really believes that the Agnipath scheme is meant for creating future cadres for the BJP, then she should follow the example set by the Rajasthan government, bring in a resolution in the state cabinet and the Assembly and get it passed," Chowdhury said.
Incidentally on June 20, while addressing the Assembly, the chief minister described Agnipath scheme as BJP's "ploy" to create its own future armed cadre force. "The announcement for the Agnipath project was not made by the defence ministry. The announcement was made by the Union home ministry. This is actually a ploy of the BJP to create its own cadre force under the garb of Army training. The defence forces are just being used as a facade. The BJP is projecting a lollypop to create a force of its own goons throughout the country," the chief minister said.
The CPI(M) central committee member and the former leader of left legislative parties in West Bengal Dr Sujan Chakraborty said that the chief minister's concept of civic volunteers is no different from the Union government- proposed Agnipath scheme. "In West Bengal, youths are recruited as civic volunteers in state police on contractual basis and are deprived of other benefits that other regular recruits in the forces. These civic volunteers are actually performing Trinamool Congress cadres. In West Bengal there is a concept of civic police and the Union government is now proposing a civic military," he said.
Trinamool Congress spokesman and the party's state general secretary, Kunal Ghosh, has, however, described such charges as baseless. "The entire country is aware of how Mamata Banerjee had been running in the forefront against any anti-people policy of the Union government. Both Congress and CPI(M) have become insignificant forces in West Bengal and hence their leaders are trying to remain in the limelight by making such baseless comments," he said.