This comes amid the political crisis in Punjab, where Navjot Singh Sidhu and Gulzar Inder Chahal resigned from the state Congress committee.

Rahul Gandhi poses with Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani, along with other members of the Congress party.Twitter/Congress
news Politics Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 18:44

At a time when the Congress in Punjab is facing a political crisis with the resignation of Navjot Singh Sidhu and Gulzar Inder Chahal from the Punjab Congress Committee, the national party inducted two new members into its fold — Kanhaiya Kumar and Jignesh Mevani. However, the party had earlier planned to welcome the two young leaders on the 114th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Bhagat Singh on Tuesday, September 28.

Former Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar, and Gujarat Dalit leader and Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday, September 28. Although Kanhaiya Kumar formally joined the party, Jignesh Mevani extended his support to the party as he cannot formally join Congress due to “technical reasons.”

“Since I am an independent MLA, if I join a party, I may not continue as an MLA. I am part of the Congress ideologically, and will fight the upcoming Gujarat polls from the Congress symbol,” IANS quoted Jignesh Mewani as saying.

Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Randeep Singh Surjewala welcomed the two leaders at a press conference. “Congress is not just a party, but an idea. Congress is the oldest and most democratic party in India. Many people believe that India cannot survive without the Congress,” Kanhaiya Kumar said as he addressed the media. 

Kanhaiya Kumar had joined the Communist Party of India (CPI) ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha election and had unsuccessfully contested from Begusarai in Bihar against Giriraj Singh of the BJP. Jignesh Mevani, who is currently a legislator in Gujarat and represents the Vadgam constituency, is the convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM). He is a lawyer-activist and a former journalist.

The two young leaders have been inducted into the party ahead of some of the crucial Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.

Mevani's entry into the Congress comes at a time when it is wooing the scheduled castes community after handpicking the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab.

Charanjit Singh Channi succeeded Amarinder Singh as chief minister of Punjab, seen as a bold step by the party for wooing back the scheduled castes, traditionally considered the vote bank of the Congress. However, the party suffered a fresh setback in Punjab on Tuesday when state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned.

Watch the press conference

(With input from PTI)

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