The political ambitions of former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar, who was once being perceived as the star candidate by CPI, is now being demolished. RJD has fielded party heavyweight Tanveer Hassan from Begusarai seat who will be contesting against Kanhaiya. The left parties in Bihar are contesting together with Kanhaiya being fielded from the same seat. Begusarai is the hometown of Kanhaiya Kumar.
Kanhaiya Kumar wanted to his political debut from his hometown of Begusarai from a CPI ticket after an alliance with RJD. This dream was crushed when RJD released the candidate list and CPI was not featured on the list at all. Even though RJD had an understanding with CPI, they went back on their word. Kanhaiya was supposed to be a star entrant by contesting from Begusarai but the Left was so irrelevant that he failed to gain consensus in his own state. Thereafter the communist parties decided to contest the elections together.
The claim of the Lalu Prasad-led party on the non-alliance is that the party doubted Kumar’s winnability quotient in view of several controversies surrounding him. Moreover, the party was not willing to compromise on its candidate Tanveer Hassan, considering his popularity and the work done by him in Begusarai.
Speaking on the CPI-RJD alliance, RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said, “RJD has been a very strong force. Even in the so-called Modi wave in 2014 elections, our candidate got almost four lakh votes and since then he has never left Begusarai. It was impossible for us to set aside Tanveer Hassan’s candidature. We have a strong cadre and that wanted Tanveer Hassan and there is nothing we could have done. It is all about our care, our people, therefore, another candidature than his became a deal-breaker.”
RJD is working to completely destroy the dream political debut of Kanhaiya Kumar, by fielding Tanveer Hassan from Begusarai. In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Hassan had finished second by losing to BJP’s Bhola Singh by a small margin of over 55,000 votes. The performance was commendable considering NDA’s grand sweeping of the state with NDA government securing 31 seats.
Moreover, Hassan has a variety of other strong factors. He is an old face and belongs to the minority, something which will go down with the voters. Most importantly, Hassan is a non-controversial figure, which is going to be Kanhaiya Kumar’s biggest disadvantage. In 2016, he had been arrested on the grounds of Sedition and Criminal Conspiracy on his event against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Jayant Jigyasu, who was a close aide of Kanhaiya during the sedition row but later parted ways to establish RJD’s student wing in JNU, said it was “Kumar’s arrogance and ignorance that led to the alliance fallout”.
CPI’s candidate Rajendra Singh was a distant third during 2014 elections with just 1.92 lakh votes. It was perceived that the Left doesn’t command much popularity in the region given the substandard performance of last time. Therefore, the unpopularity coupled by the number of controversies surrounding Kanhaiya, RJD did not find it apt to risk an alliance and field him. In such a situation, RJD believes Kanhaiya to be a leader and thus should have thought of forming the alliance and defeating the BJP collectively rather than being adamant for the sake of his political career.
“There is nothing wrong in having political ambitions but there is much more he could have brought to the table rather than him just becoming a deal breaker for a crucial alliance,” Jigyasu said.
The candidature of Tanveer Hassan is indicative of the fact that RJD is not going to give a pass to Kanhaiya Kumar. The heavyweight political veteran has a strong base in the constituency and has been campaigning since the last elections. Being a people’s person, Hassan is a tough competition and by fielding him against Kanhaiya, RJD is working hell-bent to show him his place.