Politics

Kanhaiya Kumar joins Congress, Jignesh Mevani extends support

Published : September 29, 2021 18:01 IST

Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mewani (right), at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi, on September 28. Photo: PTI

Jignesh Mevani, independent Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Gujarat and Dalit rights leader, has extended his full support to the Congress. Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president, announced their move on September 28, at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi.

Jignesh Mevani, independent Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Gujarat and Dalit rights leader, has extended his full support to the Congress. Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president, announced their move on September 28, at the Congress party headquarters in New Delhi.

Mevani’s move, in particular, is significant as Gujarat is gearing up for the Assembly election scheduled for December 2022. It is believed that the Congress is attempting to rejig its Gujarat presence by inducting young leaders. Mevani, an MLA from Vadgam constituency, is a popular face with not just the Dalit community but also the youth of the State. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has seen a shake-up in its ranks in the State with the appointment of a new Chief Minister, Bhupendra Patel, earlier this month.

In an official statement released to the media, Mevani said: “India is facing an uphill battle against the fascist forces, and it is about time we fight them unitedly. Indian National Congress has an impeccable record in India's struggle against oppressors, and I am confident that we shall reclaim and retain the spirit of democratic India together.”

Mevani clarified in the statement that he has not joined the Congress officially: “According to the Constitution charter, officially joining any political party during my tenure may force me to abandon people of my constituency, which I shall not. However, I am proud to announce my full support to the Congress party from today onwards and that I will be contesting the Gujarat State Assembly elections 2022 with the symbol of the Congress.”

While Mevani has chosen to join the party formally for the next election, Kanhaiya Kumar has left the Communist Party of India and joined the Congress. Kanhaiya Kumar had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from his home town in Begusarai in Bihar. At the press meet, Kumar said: “I am joining the Congress because it's not just a party, it's 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."

The two youth leaders are expected to be part of the Congress’s campaigns in the Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Manipur.

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