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Kanhaiya Kumar walks into Congress; Jignesh Mevani expresses support for party ideology

Former president of JNUSU Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mewani at AICC HQ in New Delhi on September 28, 2021.   | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Ending months of speculation Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and former JNU Students’ Union president Kanhaiya Kumar joined the Congress on Tuesday. He was accompanied by independent MLA from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani also spoke strongly in support of the Congress ideology but did not join the party formally.

Explaining his reasons for joining the Congress, Mr. Kumar said, “I am joining the country’s oldest and the most democratic party, because I feel and so do many other young people, that if the Congress does not survive then the country will not survive.”

 

The Congress is the only alternative to the BJP on at least 200 Lok Sabha seats, Mr. Kumar said at the Congress headquarters addressing a hall packed with his supporters and media personnel.

“Congress is the biggest opposition party of the country, if we do not save it.. if we do not save the big ship, then the smaller boats too won’t survive,” he added.

The former student activist said questions will be asked about his past and present, but in spite of the questions, he cannot turn away from the “historic responsibility” that lies before him.

He did not detail the reasons for quitting the CPI, but he expressed gratitude towards his former organisation. “I was born and brought up, trained there and also gave me the passion to struggle,” he said.

He said he also wanted to thank the several crore Indians who stood by him and who fought with their own families and friends in support of him. “I am not kidding, but many even had divorced because of their stand,” he added.

In September 2015, Mr. Kumar became president of the JNU students’ union. In February 2016, he was arrested by the Delhi Police over charges of sedition for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans. His arrest had led to widespread outrage both within and outside the country. He joins a long list of JNU student’s union presidents who have joined the Congress.

When he was pressed about his reason for leaving the CPI, he said, “The question of Left or Right is irrelevant now because we are faced with a new age Govinda (Hindi film actor) who keeps changing his costumes. Let’s not get into this ideological battle. We need to save India and India’s Constitution. This alone is my target.”

Earlier in the day, Mr. Kumar, Mr. Mevani and Congress working President of Gujarat unit Hardik Patel paid tributes to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh on his birth anniversary at the Shaheed Bhagat Singh park in Delhi.

Mr. Mevani, said he was not formally joining the party because of technical reasons since he would have to resign as an Independent Gujarat legislator. However, he announced that he would fight the next Assembly polls under the Congress symbol.

“As a nation we are going through an unprecedented crisis! The very idea of India is in peril. In such a situation, it is the fundamental duty of a citizen, to work against the forces,” Mr. Mevani said.

Calling on the youth to join the Congress with a ‘sense of urgency’, he said that he, along with Mr Kumar, will campaign around the country to inject younger blood.

With all the media questions being directed at him, Mr. Kumar in a lighter vein, said, “Please don't make two friends fight... people are asking me why Jignesh’s name is not trending on Twitter. We are not different. This stage is not divided. Please don't lob all questions at me alone.”

Mr Kumar’s entry into the Congress has created disquiet with many wondering if a Left-ward shift will do any good to the party.

“As Speculation abounds about certain Communist leaders joining @INCIndia 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,” senior MP and member of the Congress’ G-23 that called for inner party reforms, Manish Tewari tweeted.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 8:28:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kanhaiya-kumar-walks-into-congress-jignesh-mevani-expresses-support-for-party-ideology/article36713779.ece

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