The country cannot be saved without saving the Congress, said former student leader and fiery orator Kanhaiya Kumar as he joined the Congress party on Tuesday. (September 28). Remember, The Federal was the first to report about the young, albeit polarising political figure’s move to quit the Communist Party of India (CPI) and join the Congress.
The 34-year-old young leader was inducted at the All India Congress Committee headquarters in New Delhi, which was decorated with Kumar’s posters, in the presence of party leader Rahul Gandhi, said media reports. He had reportedly met Gandhi twice in the last two weeks. Significantly, Gujarat Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, too, pledged his support to the Congress but could not formally join the party due to technical reasons.
Addressing a press meet after joining the Congress, Kumar said that he was joining the Congress because it’s not just a party but an “idea”.
“It’s the country’s oldest and most democratic party, and I am emphasising on ‘democratic’…Not just me, but many think the country can’t survive without Congress,” said Kumar, said media reports.
According to Kumar, who has jumped ship from the CPI, likened the Congress party to a big ship. And, if the party is saved, then “Mahatma Gandhi’s oneness, Bhagat Singh’s courage, and BR Ambedkar’s idea of equality” will also be protected, he said, adding that is the reason he has joined the Congress.
He criticised a “particular ideology” that was trying to destroy India’s values, culture, history, and future. And, he also claimed “crores of youngsters” feel that the country “can’t be saved without saving the Congress”.
Kumar had joined the CPI ahead of the 2019 general election and had contested from his hometown Begusarai in Bihar. However, he had lost to BJP’s Giriraj Singh. When he was the president of the JNU Students’ Union, he was jailed for allegedly shouting “anti-national slogans” at an event in 2016 to mark the death anniversary of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru.
The BJP was however seemed unperturbed by Kanhaiya’s move. In the NDTV report, Bihar Minister Mangal Pandey told ANI that Kumar was just displaying his “political ambition” by joining the Congress. Since Begusarai had failed to vote for him and his ideology, the politically ambitious Kumar was switching his ideology and party, he said.
Further, Pandey pointed out Kumar was moving to a party that has been rejected by Bihar and is a “sinking boat” now.
Mevani, meanwhile, is a legislator representing Gujarat’s Vadgam constituency and his expression of solidarity will turn out to be critical for the Congress in the next year’s Assembly election in that state.
A lawyer and former journalist, the Dalit leader explained that since he is independent MLA, he would be unable to continue as a legislator if he joined a political party. “I am part of the Congress ideologically but I will fight the upcoming Gujarat polls from Congress symbol,” declared Mewani, said the NDTV report.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal today welcomed Kumar, and said Congress was looking forward to working with him and Mevani to defeat the “fascist forces” at the helm in the country.
Venugopa said that Kanhaiya Kumar, who had fought against fundamentalism as a student leader, is a symbol of the fight for freedom of expression in this country. This kind of dynamic personality will enthuse the entire cadre of Congress, felt Venugopal.
Kumar and Mevani have joined the Congress, even as senior leaders such as former Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev had left the fold to join Trinamool Congress, while former Union Minister Jitin Prasada is now with the BJP. Veteran Goa Congress leader Luizinho Faleiro too resigned from the party on September 27, and there is trouble brewing in the Kerala Congress as well. And, the Congress in Punjab seems to have sunk into a deep turmoil.