As Begusarai votes in the 4th phase of the general elections, the campaigning in the trilateral fight between BJP’s Giriraj Singh, RJD’s Tanveer Hassan and CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar comes to a final halt.
Kanhaiya Kumar, who is contesting Lok Sabha polls for the first time, has been the favorite of the left-liberal media, as the flag bearer of communism in the region. However, failure to grasp the current of the Bihari electorate might produce unfavorable for the ambitious 32-year-old leader.
Kanhaiya Kumar who had shot to fame after the infamous JNU incident, where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised in on the campus during a programme called to protest against the death sentence handed out to Afzal Guru, got the support of a barrage of famous left-leaning personalities, some of them even parachuted to campaign for Kanhaiya in Begusarai. Actors Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, Prakash Raj, lyricist Javed Akhtar and prominent left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja and others have campaigned for Kanhaiya Kumar.
However, even with his star-studded campaign, the former JNUSU president seemed to have missed the sweet spot. Bihar electorate, which is known to vote in a highly localized manner, is sure to see a minimal effect from this outside left-leaning support for Kanhaiya, BJP’s candidate Giriraj Singh, however, stands on the better end of the spectrum with his campaign focused on local issues.
“Kanhaiya is contesting these elections like a one-day player. He should play a five-day match. He is still young,” said Sarfaraz Alam, a resident of the Muslim-dominated Pipra Dewas village, located less than 10 km from Kanhaiya’s native village in Bihar.
Bihar’s voting trend which has traditionally been based on caste lines is also sure to be a thorn in Kanhaiya’s electoral plan, BJP’s candidate Giriraj Singh and Kanhaiya Kumar both belong to the Bhumihar caste who number around 4.5 lakh in Begusarai. However, Kanhaiya’s dissociation from a localized approach has been seeing the Bhumihar community siding with the BJP. Additionally, Tanveer Hasan is poised to tap into the traditional Muslim vote bank of the RJD, leaving Kanhaiya dry with just votes from staunch communist supporters in the parliamentary constituency of Begusarai.
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP’s Bhola Singh won with 4,28,227 votes. Hassan finished second with 3,69,892 votes and CPI candidate had then secured just around 2 lakh votes. Many observers also claimed that Kanhaiya is not even in the fight and the fight is only between the alliances. Kanhaiya’s campaign though laded with glamour and outside support is sure to leave a bad taste for him and his star-studded campaign ‘team’.