Mumbai: Former student leader activist and now a full-time politician, Kanhaiya Kumar joined the opposition Congress party this week leaving his the Communist Party of India (CPI). His entry marked a new chapter in the party's efforts to unite forces from different spectrums of politics to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2024 elections.
While taking a stand for his new party, Kanhiya Kumar on Friday said the internal criticism of the party helps the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and it needs to be changed.
Kumar was referring to the recent series of crises that the party has faced with prominent and veteran leaders leaving the party and not trusting in the party's leadership.
"Criticism of the Congress leadership helps the BJP... Everybody understands that when the country's biggest opposition party is Congress, the more successful Congress will be, the bigger the defeat BJP will face," he told NDTV in an interview.
"All other opposition parties are regional parties. Congress is the only opposition force with a national presence. It always had the potential... (The BJP) can absolutely be defeated... If I did not think they could be defeated, I would have quit the fight," Mr Kumar said.
"My interactions with Rahul Gandhi made me feel that he is a compassionate leader... always asked me about my mother's well-being, my father's health. I really appreciate that about him and these are the qualities that attract me. He is sincere, there is a sincerity in his fight. He is a fearless leader who wants the truth to prevail," he said.
Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah a "Nathuram-banai jodi" in reference to Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi and a hero for many right-wing groups affiliated to the BJP, Mr Kumar said the party's ideology was openly against the father of the nation.
"The BJP is calling me 'Tukde-Tukde gang.' I am 'Tukde-Tukde' for the BJP, and I will do 'Tukde-Tukde' of BJP. This party considers Godse the father of the nation, not Gandhi. They only praise Gandhi in front of [US President Joe] Biden," he said.
"Like many other youngsters, I feel that it is getting late. The party which has the legacy of winning freedom for the country, to save that freedom, that party must be the strongest. Those who are focussed only on their political career are joining BJP today," Mr Kumar said.
Kanhaiya Kumar was inducted with India's oldest party (CPI) for 18 years while he also was a student activist and the president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union. Kumar said his shift to the Congress mirrored the transition of Indian politics from Left of Centre to the Right of Centre, and that he appreciated the party remained one where senior leaders can have dramatically divergent views.
(with inputs from NDTV)
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)