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Unease in CPI amid reports of Kanhaiya joining Congress

Last Saturday, Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani told a section of the media that he and Kumar will join the Congress party on September 28
Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar (Arijit Sen/HT Photo/Representative use)
Updated on Sep 28, 2021 04:25 AM IST

Communist Party of India (CPI) leader and former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s (JNU) students’ union, Kanhaiya Kumar kept his colleagues waiting last Tuesday at party headquarters in Delhi, where he was instructed to address a press conference to refute strong speculations of him joining the Congress, CPI leaders told HT.

There is a growing uneasiness between Kumar and his party amid media reports of him joining the Congress with Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday, September 28.

CPI leaders told HT that last Monday, party general secretary D Raja had asked him to address a press conference to “refute” the rumours. But on Tuesday, while his party colleagues waited patiently at Ajoy Bhavan, the CPI headquarters in Delhi, “Kumar’s phone and messages went unanswered”, said a senior leader on condition of anonymity.

“So far, he has not publicly denied or reacted to the speculations about him,” noted another party leader.

Last Saturday, Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Mevani told a section of the media that he and Kumar will join the Congress on September 28. “On September 28, I will be joining the Indian National Congress along with Kanhaiya Kumar,” Mevani was quoted as saying.

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When contacted for a response, D Raja said, “Let us see.” Kumar is reported to be unhappy with his current party where he wanted to play a larger role.

On Sunday, a group of CPI leaders in Bihar met Kumar at the party headquarters, ostensibly to persuade him to stay. “During the discussion, Kumar told them that he should be made the state party chief and the chairman of the party’s top election committee that decides candidates for elections,” said a second CPI leader, who didn’t wish to be named.

“In any party, no one can make such a demand. It is the party that decides and gives responsibilities to its people. If he has any such ambition, (then) he should tell the top authorities,” said a second party leader.

All eyes are now on the party’s national council meeting on October 2. In the meeting, Kanhaiya Kumar’s issues are likely to be discussed among other things.

Kumar unsuccessfully contested the Begusarai Lok Sabha election as a CPI candidate and lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart and Union minister Giriraj Singh in 2019.

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