Kanhaiya, Mevani to add power to Cong in Bihar, Gujarat

Kanhaiya, Mevani entry likely to boost Congress bets in Bihar, Gujarat

Kanhaiya's entry into Congress has not gone down well with a section in Congress

Kanhaiya Kumar and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani. Credit: PTI Photo

Rahul Gandhi has a complaint about many of his party colleagues that they are not anti-BJP/RSS as ought to be. If not for other attributes, one thing that young leaders Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani will not be wanting for will be their strident stand against the Hindutva brigade.

Kumar, who rose to national limelight as Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president arrested in a sedition case, left the CPI to join the Grand Old Party while Gujarat independent MLA Mevani, a prominent Dalit leader who comes from the activists' stable, has promised to fight the next Gujarat elections under the party symbol.

Both are expected to add more firepower to the party in Bihar and Gujarat respectively where the party is looking at fresh faces to revamp the party, which has slipped politically.

Kanhaiya's entry into Congress has not gone down well with a section in Congress, with a number of them questioning the rationale in bringing in Left-oriented young leaders into the party fold.

However, Gujarat Congress Working President Hardik Patel said, “we, youngsters, want to work in Congress, under a leader who talks about development and prosperity. We have raised voices for people of the country in the past, and want to strengthen them and be their voice.”

Along with Kanhaiya, Mevani and Alpesh Thakore, Hardik had been at the forefront of the fight against the BJP in the second half of last decade. Hardik and Thakore joined Congress but the latter left for the BJP later, upset over organisational issues.

Also read: In Mevani and Kanhaiya joining Congress, Rahul's Dalit outreach and left turn
 
Hardik is said to be instrumental in Mevani's future formal association with the Congress, which has supported his candidature in the last Gujarat Assembly election. Kanhaiya also has a good equation with Hardik while his entry into Congress is attributed more to Rahul with whom he had struck a chord long ago.

The idea behind their induction is that the entry of “committed” young leaders would rejuvenate the party and fill the gap created by the exit of several younger leaders like Jyotiraditya Scindia, Jitin Prasada, Sushmita Dev and Priyanka Chaturvedi in the recent years.

While Mevani's association has not triggered much heart-burns, Kanhaiya's entry comes at a time off-the-record conversations highlight his disenchantment and disagreements with the CPI leadership. Kanhaiya, who unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is said to be demanding higher position in the party, an allegation refuted by his close aides.

Elected to CPI's National Council in 2018 to be one of its youngest members, Kanhaiya is said to have demanded that he be made Bihar CPI Secretary to stay in the party. However, with less than a year left for the Party Congress when new office bearers would be elected, party leaders said the demand was "outrageous" and that a Left party does not work this way.

While Kanhaiya's aides deny any such demands, sources said he had refused to hold a press conference in party headquarters in Delhi last week to quell speculation about him leaving the CPI.

Kanhaiya's troubles with the CPI was nothing new as CPI leadership in Bihar had complaints about his "one-upmanship". He was also censured by the National Council earlier this year after his supporters manhandled CPI Bihar office secretary in December 2020 for not informing him about postponing a party meeting. 

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