New Delhi, May 23: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Thursday said the Election Commission was "egregiously wrong" in directing his party not to 'politicise' the Agnipath scheme, asserting that it is the right of an Opposition party to criticise a policy of the government.

The Election Commission Wednesday came down heavily on the ruling BJP and opposition Congress, asking them to desist from campaigning along caste, community, language, and religious lines.

The EC also asked the Congress not to politicise defence forces and make potentially divisive statements regarding the socio-economic composition of the armed forces. The Commission was referring to remarks made by top Congress leaders on the Agnipath scheme.

In a post on X, Chidambaram said the ECI is wrong in directing the Congress party not to 'politicise' the Agnipath scheme.

"What does 'politicize' mean? Does the ECI mean 'criticise'? Agniveer is a scheme, a product of the policy of the government. It is the right of an Opposition political party to criticise a policy of the government and declare that, if voted to power, the scheme will be scrapped," the former Union minister said.

'Agniveer' creates two categories of soldiers who fight together, and that is wrong, Chidambaram said.

'Agniveer' employs a young man for for four years and throws him out without a job and without a pension, and that is wrong, he said.

"Agniveer was opposed by the Army, yet the government thrust the scheme upon the Army, and that is wrong. Hence, the Agniveer scheme must be scrapped," he said.

"ECI was egregiously wrong in giving direction to the Congress party and, as a citizen, it is my right to say that ECI was egregiously wrong," Chidambaram said.

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New Delhi (PTI): Union minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday led the ruling National Democratic Alliance's efforts in reaching out to opposition parties to build a consensus on the choice for the Lok Sabha Speaker.

The NDA candidate for the key parliamentary position will file his nomination on Tuesday, the day scheduled for the process.

Sources said the senior BJP leader spoke to Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, and DMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Stalin among other opposition leaders in efforts to build a consensus.

They said that nomination could be filed for the deputy speaker's position too, but added it will depend on various factors, including the opposition's stand.