India's Congress party asks Communists for support

Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi

President-elect of India's Congress party Rahul Gandhi is seeking an alliance with the communists, saying he wanted to ask his "friends in the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) whether they actually want to fight the fascist forces in the country".

The new party president, the sixth member of the Nehru-Gandhi family to lead the political outfit, has taken charge from his mother at a time when the party is facing one of its worst crises, with the BJP occupying the centrestage of national politics and getting increasingly robust in states.

Neeraj Kumar, also a JD-U legislator and considered close to Bihar Chief Minister and party President Nitish Kumar said Rahul Gandhi was born with a silver spoon in mouth, and therefore, got the top Congress post.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also addressed the gathering and said that with Rahul Gandhi's elevation the party will witness a new energy.

The Modi government has been under fire in the past several months for an increase in inter-faith violence, including attacks by vigilantes largely targeting Muslims for allegedly consuming beef or killing cows which are sacred to Hindus. She helped the Congress win the general elections in 2004 and 2009.

Since then, the party has lost polls in many key states to the BJP, exposing Gandhi to further criticism.

Rahul Gandhi gestures during an election campaign rally in Gandhinagar, India, Dec. 11.

He made his pitch for communist support in a speech attacking Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday. Slogans of "long live Rahul" were shouted as hundreds of supporters danced and burst firecrackers. "I want Congress to become an instrument of dialogue with people of India", he said. "When I entered politics 13 years ago, I wished to be a part of the awakening that would transform India at home, by ensuring dignity for all its people, and in the world, where we would step into a role that resonated globally", he said. "It will be important how he manages to bring changes in the party functioning, like bringing young leaders to the fore and overcoming opposition criticism about his leadership", she told AFP.

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