Kanhaiya Kumar meets Rahul Gandhi
Kanhaiya Kumar, a CPI leader and former president of the JNU Students Union, meet Rahul Gandhi, presumably to lay the foundation for his entry into the Congress, which has seen many young leaders depart in the last two years. Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani is also in contact with the Congress leadership, according to sources. In the 2016 Assembly elections, the Congress aided Mevani by not fielding a candidate from the Vadgam seat in the Banaskantha region of northern Gujarat.
Kumar was feeling suffocated in the CPI, according to sources close to him. On Tuesday, he met Gandhi and the two are said to have discussed his entrance into the Congress party. When asked about Kumar's potential departure, CPI general secretary D Raja stated he had just heard rumours about it. “I can only say that he was present at the national executive meeting of our party earlier this month. He spoke and participated in the deliberations," Raja stated.
Kumar did not respond to requests, but sources in the Congress claimed he wants to be a major player in Bihar politics. For the past three decades, the Congress has been a political exile in Bihar. It did poorly even in last year's Assembly elections when compared to allies RJD and CPI (ML). Only 19 of the 70 seats up for grabs were gained by the Congress. The RJD won more than half of the 144 seats it ran for, while the CPI(ML) won 12 of the 19 seats it ran for.
The Congress believes that the entry of Kumar and Mevani will give it a boost, at least in the context of optics, because one of the narratives surrounding the party in the last two years has been of young leaders leaving the party, such as Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sushmita Dev, Jitin Prasada, and Priyanka Chaturvedi.
It's another matter that, given Kumar's tumultuous past, at least some Congress officials fear he could be a liability for the party. He had been censured - a mild disciplinary sanction – by the CPI earlier this year for a commotion at the party's Patna office in December.
If Kumar, who is known for his oratory talents, joins the Congress, he could be used to campaign in Uttar Pradesh's Purvanchal region. The SP and BSP have stated that they will not join up with the Congress in the next Assembly elections, leaving the party to fight the elections on its own.
Source: The Indian Express
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