CPI's Kanhaiya Kumar, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani join Congress
Former Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Kanhaiya Kumar and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani today joined the Congress party, ending days of speculation about their induction. The two leaders joined the grand old party in the presence of its former chief Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi, reports said. The development comes just months before Gujarat is due to hold polls next year.
'Congress must survive for the sake of country'
"I am joining the Congress because I strongly believe that if the country has to be saved, the Congress party needs to survive," Kumar said at a press conference after his joining. Mevani also praised the party at that press meet.
Here are pictures from their meeting with Gandhi
CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani joins Congress in the presence of Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi pic.twitter.com/7t0tf8lqmp— ANI (@ANI) September 28, 2021
Kumar is a former JNUSU President
Kumar, a former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU), had joined the CPI ahead of the 2019 Indian general elections. He contested that election from the Begusarai constituency in Bihar, but lost to Giriraj Singh of the rival Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Besides JNU, he has also studied at College of Commerce, Arts and Science in Patna.
He had met Gandhi twice in recent weeks
Kumar had met Gandhi twice over the past two weeks, reports said, fueling speculation about his switch. He also reportedly met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. The Congress is looking to induct young faces ahead of Assembly elections and the 2024 general elections. However, some analysts believe Kumar's entry may harm the Congress, given his controversial past. He was arrested in 2016 over alleged "anti-national" slogans.
Mevani is an independent MLA from Gujarat's Vadgam
Meanwhile, 40-year-old Mevani is an independent legislator representing Gujarat's Vadgam constituency since 2017. A lawyer and former journalist, he is also the convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM). A popular Dalit face, he is expected to help the Congress reach out to that community in the run up to next year's Gujarat Assembly elections.
'Sinking boat': BJP hits out at Congress over the move
"Begusarai rejected Kanhiya Kumar's ideology earlier. Now he is changing his ideology and party for political ambition but public does not vote for anyone's political ambition. He is going to a party that has been rejected by Bihar and is a sinking boat now," Bihar Minister Mangal Pandey said. "Joining hands with 'Breaking India' forces is now Congress's raison d'être," said BJP's Amit Malviya.