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Rahul Gandhi turns 52: Amid Agnipath protest Wayanad MP urges party workers not to celebrate birthday

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New Delhi, Jun 19: Rahul Gandhi, who is turning 52 on Sunday, has urged the party workers not to celebrate his birthday as crores of youths are protesting against the Centre's new recruitment scheme 'Agnipath'.

Rahul Gandhi turns 52: Amid Agnipath protest Wayanad MP urges party workers not to celebrate birthday

"We are concerned with the situation in the country. Crores of youths are anguished. We should share the pain of the youth and their families and stand with them," Rahul Gandhi said in a statement which was tweeted by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh on Saturday.

His message to the party workers comes when the country is witnessing protests against the Centre's 'Agnipath' scheme which was approved on June 14.

The Wayanad MP on Saturday stated that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to withdraw the latest scheme like the farm laws. In a tweet in Hindi, Rahul Gandhi said, "I had said earlier also that the prime minister will have to withdraw the black farm laws." "In the same manner, he will have to accept the demand of the youth of the country by becoming 'maafiveer' and take back the 'Agnipath' scheme," he said.

The former Congress chief said that for eight consecutive years, the BJP government has "insulted" the values of 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'.

Unveiling the Agnipath scheme on Tuesday, the government said youths between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21 years would be inducted for a four-year tenure while 25 per cent of the recruits will be retained for regular service. The upper age limit was raised to 23 years on Thursday as the protests against the new model for enrolment of soldiers into the Army, Navy and Air Force spread.

However, the scheme has been met with violent protests across several states.

Meanwhile, the Centre has made key changes to the scheme as the first batch of 'Agniveers' will avail a further relaxation of 5 years beyond the upper age limit of 23, taking it to 28 years.

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