Kanhaiya Kumar, former firebrand student leader, ex-CPI member and newly minted Congressman, has defended his new leader, Rahul Gandhi, and said Congress is the only opposition force with a pan-India presence that can take down the ruling BJP.
In an interview with NDTV, Kumar called Gandhi a “compassionate” leader and said the BJP can “absolutely be defeated”.
“Criticism of the Congress leadership helps the BJP… Everybody understands that when the country’s biggest opposition party is Congress, the more successful Congress will be, the bigger the defeat BJP will face,” he said.
“All other opposition parties are regional parties. Congress is the only opposition force with a national presence. It always had the potential… [The BJP] can absolutely be defeated… If I did not think they could be defeated, I would have quit the fight,” Kumar said.
“My interactions with Rahul Gandhi made me feel that he is a compassionate leader… always asked me about my mother’s well-being, my father’s health. I really appreciate that about him and these are the qualities that attract me. He is sincere, there is a sincerity in his fight. He is a fearless leader who wants the truth to prevail.”
Kumar dubbed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah a “Nathuram-banai jodi” – a reference to Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, and said the BJP was openly against the father of the nation.
“The BJP is calling me ‘tukde-tukde gang’,” Kumar said, referring to the pejorative catchphrase used by the ruling party against its critics. “I am tukde-tukde’ for the BJP, and I will do ‘tukde-tukde’ of BJP. This party considers Godse the father of the nation, not Gandhi. They only praise Gandhi in front of [US President Joe] Biden,” he said.
After nearly two decades of association with the Left, Kumar joined the Congress on Tuesday.