Former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday joined the Congress in presence of party leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.
Former JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Tuesday joined the Congress in presence of party leader Rahul Gandhi. He was inducted at a function at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in New Delhi.
Meanwhile, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani extended his support to the party. He said that he was unable to join the party formally due to a “technical reason”.
“I could not join the Congress formally due to technical reasons. I am an independent MLA, if I join a party, I may not continue as an MLA… I am part of the Congress ideologically, will fight the upcoming Gujarat polls from Congress symbol,” Mewani was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Kumar said he was joining the Congress since it was not just a party, but an idea.
“I am joining Congress because it is not just a party, it is an idea. It’s the country’s oldest and most democratic party, and I am emphasising on ‘democratic’…Not just me many think that country can’t survive without Congress…” Kumar was quoted as saying by ANI after joining Congress.
The party, which has been facing existential crisis after a series of poll debacles since 2014, sees Kumar and Mevani’s entry as a big boost after the exit of several young leaders like several young leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, Jitin Prasada, Priyanka Chaturvedi and Laliteshpati Tripathi.
While Kumar is considered a crowd-puller, some leaders in the Congress believe that Kumar could be a baggage for the party given his controversial past. Even in the CPI, he had faced a censure – a mild disciplinary action – earlier this year for a ruckus at the party’s Patna office in December last year.
Kumar unsuccessfully contested the Begusarai Lok Sabha election as a CPI candidate and lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart and Union minister Giriraj Singh in 2019.
Mevani, who is currently a legislator in Gujarat and represents the Vadgam constituency, is the convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM). He is a lawyer-activist and a former journalist. Mevani’s entry into the Congress comes at a time when it is wooing the scheduled castes community after making one amongst them the chief minister of Punjab.
The party might handover a key position to Mevani in Gujarat, which is scheduled to go to polls later next year. The Congress had helped Mevani in the previous assembly polls as well.
Ahead of Kumar’s induction in the Congress, former Union minister Manish Tewari put out a cryptic tweet, saying it would be worthwhile to look at the history of communists’ presence in the party. Citing a book by Mohan Kumaramangalam, he said “the more things change, the more they remain the same”.
“As speculation abounds about certain Communist leaders joining Congress it perhaps may be instructive to revisit a 1973 book ‘Communists in Congress’ Kumarmanglam Thesis. The more things change the more they perhaps remain the same. I re-read it today,” Tewari said in a tweet.