Video Producers: Naman Shah, Kanishk Dangi
Video Editor: Rahul Sanpui
Former president of JNU Students' Union Kanhaiya Kumar was enthusiastically welcomed into the Congress party by Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, 28 September, the birth anniversary of Bhagat Singh.
Kumar took this opportunity to slam Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
According to sources, former party President Rahul Gandhi's team was in touch with Kanhaiya Kumar for some time now but the latter chose the date to join the Congress.
Bihar Congress President Madan Mohan Jha and Bihar party in-charge Bhakta Charan Das were also present in the program held in Delhi. However, Kumar did not utter a word on Bihar politics during his address.
Now, the question is what will the Congress and Kanhaiya Kumar’s future strategy be? And who will benefit from Kumar joining the party?
WHAT IS IN IT FOR THE CONGRESS?
Congress leaders believe that in Kumar, the party has got a great speaker in the Hindi belt, the lack of which was felt in the party for a long time.
Moreover, Kumar is a popular face among the youth and the Congress would likely use this to their advantage in the anti-BJP political space against Modi.
The strategy to include leaders who have risen from different struggles in Rahul Gandhi's new team is being worked out to drive the anti-BJP movement and seek electoral benefits in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
However, Congress has also taken a risk as Kumar has been labelled an anti-national since the 2016 JNU sloganeering controversy. The BJP has already started using the label to brand Rahul Gandhi and the party as anti-national as well.
Moreover, apart from being uncomfortable with Kanhaiya Kumar’s tag, some leaders within the Congress party also dislike him for being a communist leader.
Kanhaiya Kumar is certainly being seen by Congress as a bonus for Bihar, and it is possible that the party may even give him a post in the state. However, Bihar Congress leaders do not believe that a miracle is going to take place.
WHY DID KANHAIYA CHANGE HIS PARTY?
Staying with the CPI, Kumar was not able to see a future for his political ambitions.
Moreover, the attention given to him by the central leadership of the CPI was disliked by many leaders in Bihar, due to which things had turned sour at the local level.
According to those aware of the situation, Kumar had a difference of opinion about the ideology and strategy taken by the senior leaders of the CPI, due to which reconciliation became more difficult.
Kumar blames CPI's falling support base as a major reason for his defeat in the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Begusarai to BJP's Giriraj Singh by over 4 lakh votes.
With the tensions rising, he was also accused of misbehaviour with the party's office secretary Indubhushan in Patna and in February this year. The CPI also passed a censure motion against Kanhaiya Kumar in the National Council meeting held in Hyderabad.
A few days after the censure motion, Kumar met minister Ashok Chaudhary, a close aide of CM Nitish Kumar, in a closed room, giving rise to speculation that Kanhaiya might join the Janata Dal (United).
However, Kanhaiya Kumar’s search for a different path ended at the Congress’s doorstep.
WHAT WILL BE THE IMPACT ON CONGRESS-RJD RELATIONSHIP?
Though Congress leaders claim that Kumar's arrival will not affect the Congress’ relations with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), it has certainly increased Congress’ bargaining power.
The Congress has not been able to put up a new face in Bihar since Jagannath Mishra from 30 years ago.
Now, the party has found a new, young leader, through whom it will try to rebuild the party in Bihar in the coming years.
Political experts believe that for Tejashwi Yadav's political future to be secure, Lalu Yadav does not want any other young leader to grow in the Mahagathbandhan. This is why an alliance was not formed with the CPI in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, and the RJD fielded their own candidate for Begusarai.
Though, both Tejashwi Yadav and Kanhaiya Kumar campaigned for the candidates of the Mahagathbandhan, Kanhaiya and Tejashwi never appeared on the same stage.
Till date, Kanhaiya Kumar has never publicly considered Tejashwi Yadav as a leader, nor has Yadav ever openly supported Kumar.
But now Kanhaiya Kumar, being the face of the Grand Alliance, will have to consider Tejashwi Yadav as a leader. So the question is, will it be easy for Kumar? Sources say the RJD is unhappy with the Congress’ decision to include Kumar without consulting them.
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