Kanhaiya Kumar
Kanhaiya Kumar | Facebook/@KanhaiyaKaPage
Text Size:

Patna: Begusarai is witnessing an election campaign it hasn’t seen before. And the Parliamentary constituency in central Bihar has its CPI candidate, Kanhaiya Kumar, to thank for it.

Kanhaiya, the former president of the student union at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has been carrying out some impressive roadshows in cavalcades that consist of at least 10 SUVs — including a minimum of three from media houses — followed by over 500 motorcycle-borne youngsters cutting across caste and creed.

On Wednesday, Kanhaiya’s roadshow brought Bachhwara segment of the Lok Sabha constituency to a standstill. The segment is still considered a stronghold of the CPI.

And it isn’t just the roadshows. Ever since Kanhaiya announced his entry into the electoral battle, Left-oriented intellectuals, politicians and activists, actors and even JNU students have made a beeline for Begusarai.

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani stayed here for three days, visiting remote villages on a cycle. On the day Kanhaiya filed his nomination papers, actor Swara Bhaskar was among those who accompanied him. Since then, actors Shabana Azmi and Prakash Raj, lyricist Javed Akhtar and prominent Left leaders Sitaram Yechury and D. Raja have camped in the constituency.

Kanhaiya has also managed to crowd-fund around Rs 70 lakh for his campaign before he shut it.

Even as voting day (29 April) approaches, there has been no let up in the intensity of the campaign.

On Wednesday, Shehla Rashid, the former JNUSU vice-president, visited remote villages in the seat.

“At least 50 JNU students are camping in Begusarai. They spend the whole day in remote areas seeking support for Kanhaiya and return in the evening,” said Sandeen Dalvi, who is living in Kanhaiya’s home at Bihat village.

Dalvi hails from Goa and is a musician and an environmental activist. Dalvi has taken 15 days off to campaign for Kanhaiya.

Although there are questions on the effectiveness of the campaign, it has, however, managed to sway one demography — the youth of Begusarai. Many of Begusarai’s younger voters, irrespective of caste or religion, follow the CPI candidate around.

“We have accompanied him shelling out our own money for fuel,” a youngster told ThePrint. “Kanhaiya bhai (brother) is going to win. The RJD and the BJP are fighting for second place.”


Also read: Why Kanhaiya Kumar can successfully crowdfund Rs 70 lakh but Bihar’s Raju Yadav struggles


‘Still a tall order’

Away from the optics, Kanhaiya may be bounded by the ground realities of a caste-ridden and communally polarised electorate. The CPI candidate has been pitted against Union Minister Giriraj Singh of the BJP and the RJD’s Tanveer Hassan.

Both Kanhaiya and Giriraj are Bhumihars — the upper castes who number around 4.5 lakh in Begusarai. But even CPI leaders concede that Bhumihars and another chunk of Brahmins and Rajputs are backing Giriraj and stress that Kanhaiya draws support from other sections of society.

This consolidation may force Muslims in the constituency to rally behind the RJD’s Tanveer Hassan.

“The NDA voters, particularly the Bhumihars, are not deserting Giriraj. Why should anyone expect us to desert Tanveer?” said a Muslim voter, describing Kanhaiya’s campaigning as hawai hawai (building castles in the air). “When voting takes place on the 29th, it will go bust.”

While the focus is on Giriraj, Hassan could upset the applecart here.

Muslims form a considerable chunk of Begusarai’s voters and there is a perception here that backing Hassan is the best bet to beat the BJP.

“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 of Bihat.

Kanhaiya was in Pipra Dewas Tuesday. “We garlanded him. After all, he was a guest of the village. But we will vote for Tanveer,” said Ezazul Haq, a resident of the village. “Tanveer is the person we trust. The Muslim youth accompanying him do not have their names in the voter’s list here.”

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Hassan finished second with 3,69,892 votes. The BJP’s Bhola Singh won with 4,28,227 votes. The CPI candidate had then secured around 2 lakh votes but Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had campaigned for the party here.

“In actual terms, Kanhaiya’s support base starts at 1.5 lakh. Giriraj’s support base starts at around 5 lakh. Tanveer’s take off vote too is around 3 lakh,” said a CPI leader. “Even with all the media hype, it will be a tall order to fill that gap.”

Kanhaiya’s rivals also believe traditional politics will prevail. “Kanhaiya’s campaigning does not rub off at the grassroots level,” said an RJD supporter. “The divisions are still sharp on caste and communal lines.”


Also read: It’s JNU vs Modi in Begusarai as Kanhaiya takes on Giriraj of ‘Go To Pakistan’ fame


 

Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

18 Comments Share Your Views

18 COMMENTS

  1. if kanhaiya wins, there will be one progressive voice in parliament. if he does not, i hope he will have the courage to fight on (with support of millions of us – people less talented or less courageous – who nevertheless do what they can, in their own way). and if he decides to give up on electoral politics and realize what he claims is his real ambition – to become a professor, may he churn out next generation students in his own image.

  2. I dont understand…why the kejriwal govt is not signing on the chargesheet filed against this man…may be becoz he is afraid that the case will go against him …This man (kk) is nothing but a parasite on indian taxpayers money..he is clearly seen in the video chanting anti india slogans….& Now claims to be a masiha of ppl…just like khujliwal…

  3. For all its secular, socialist and social justice posturing, the fact is that RJD has dumped Kanhaiya. Our pseudo secularists are forgetting this important fact.

  4. I have all the sympathy for this rising young leader for being trapped in to a destructive party like CPI . All his talent will be used negatively there and he will find himself nowhere after wastage of his talent and energy . At least he should have opted for RJD or JDU if not Congress .

  5. Wah mishraji wah!….

    Jb modi varanasi mein roadshow karein toh woh vote ko reflect karta hai… Modi ji ke bhashan pe log ract karte hain, BUT jbb kanhaiya karre toh woh hawa hai…
    Wah “Mishraji”

  6. My best wishes for Dr. Kanhaiya Kumar.

    May the Lord God bestow his blessings for this gentleman. He possesses a very distinct clarity in understanding the underlying, unfulfilled dream of the people of Begusarai (and in larger sphere, the common people of India) to have a leader of the people, for the people and by the people.

    Simple question: If he is an anti-national, how is he allowed to contest an election? We all know that all the allegations were baseless. If he is to be blamed, just for being the JNUSU President, for something that he has not committed, then PM should have been equally blamed for his inability to allow such incidents happening in the JNU Campus – put forth logically. The current government should be blamed for the failure of Pulwama, but, when souls have withered away and bigotry is the norm, we have an “anarchy”…many won’t understand it until it’s too late. It’s easy to divide, it’s easy to deviate because majority of the masses are illiterate and naive!!!

    Similar question: If murder accused of RSS Prashant Joshi (who was first arrested in 2008), Terrorist Pragya Thakur can fight for an election inspite of Malegaon blast (we all know exactly all the truth that she has not been yet acquitted, even though we don’t want to accept it), then why not this gentleman, who has rebelled against the bully and witch-hunting of a failed government, can fight an election?

    My all sincere prayers are for Dr. Kanhaiya Kumar for the coming elections.

    The clarity of thought this gentleman posseses, and the way he has stood for his cause (and in larger sphere, of the common people), will definitely hone up his skills, and we will see a better, focussed and determined law-maker in the future…

    God bless him, and my best wishes are for him.

    Victory will carry him along, and make him one of the best among the masses!

    Good luck and lots of blessings Dr. Kanhaiya Kumar !!!

  7. इनको मैं एक करोड़ बोटिंग से सहमत हूँ ।ये हमारे देश के आने वाले समय में पाकिस्तान के pmबनने जा रे है । इनको भरी से भारी मतों से जीतने का मौका मिला है तो उसका कोई कुछ नहीं कर सकता है ।

  8. All calculation will be fail. Kanhaiya will start his ground from 2 lakh. He needs only another 2lakh because keep in mind another vote will be subtract from opponent candidate.

  9. All are in dream that kannay will win , he can talk big big word. may rise so many questions ,but ultimate he also will be fail to do the thing what he dreamed, . it’s easy to say any thi ng. But it’s hard to maintain.
    So kanaya cannot win Because he also Hippocrates like others

  10. Sawal puchnewala chahiye, congress, rjd,bsp bjp me jo misalmaan aur dslit leader hain unko sawal puchne ke liye unke party ke leadron se puch kar sawal karna padta hai, koi bhi dalit ya muslim gao hatta, 3 talak article 370 ,cast reservation pe jo atyachar huva , kisine bhi mp ke pad se istefa nahi diya. Unko kaum se jiyadi party ka vip jiyada pasand hai. DR.Kanaiyyakumar ko vote ekar chun kar laana ye sab lohon ki jeet hai. Jai Hind.

  11. It is the only for which so many like me are eagerly awaiting in this time’s election. Even the hardcore opponent will agree in camera that K K is the facebook of future Leaders of Young & Matured Gen Next India . Even in the opponents also there are good number of young Leaders are coming up. Now we are to see that how long it takes India to be lead with these young new gen Leaders for becoming a vibrant socially and economically developed Gen Next country. The more and early these young Leaders take lead of country’s socio economic & political movement, the more and early the country will be forwarded to the matured scenerio of changing progress in Gen Next India. Let us move for KK’s entry glorious. Likewise the same for other young Leaders of various divergent views too. I understand that it is difficult but not impossible. Else we are to wait for clearing the clouds. But I am sure within a short time( may be in the next decade) these leaders will take lead of the country with a new direction dumping the various old aged socio political views. We are waiting for those bright days with great hope.

  12. Tum libtards Abhi se Jit jao… Tukdey gang Pakistan’s mein Jeet sakta hain India mein nahinn
    Bharat mata ki jai # tukdey tukdey gang.

    • As kanhaiya says, the real tukdey tukdey gang is the bjp/rss who divide the nation into hindus and non-hindus.

  13. This young boy is being playef by cpi he had to know whst is Democracy he think loose taks insulting abusing is Democracy then he is on wrong road will be likr hardik patel no where

  14. JNU did churn out Kanhaiya and who has certainly imbibed some of the obsolete Communist ideologies during his Ph D in African studies department, supposed to be an intellectually not so respectful department, but he and his enthusiastic freinds from his last Alma mater have certainly not in touch with the ground politics of this land. People watched them when they were airing their views thru slogans on that dateful day in JNU which earned them accolades from many but also alienated them from most and he had to travel under protection. People were loving communism some 40-50 years back but the kind of govt that they will form will be like Dictatorial and authoritarian North Korea, China, Hungary Rumania and dismantled Russia. Why Kanhyaiya forgets that these ugly figures, of which dear Kanhyaya is an obsolete and stale symbol, filter out to the small town people also. That is why I think despite all the hype that is being created in his favour by the AC culture intellectuals from JNU and Bombay, perhaps, the fight is going to be between Giriraj and Tanveer Hassan. But Kanhyaya is an inexperienced fresh blood and has the credit of making the electoral pitch of the famous land of Begusarai in Mithila, which has produced greats like respected dear Ramdhari Singh Dinkar and Prof Ram Sharan Sharma, an interesting one. A large no of artistes, writers and activists from various parts of the country have visited him in his favour and this has led to a kind of cultural and social unity amongst the Indians. Acharya Radha Madhav Bharadwaj University of Delhi

  15. Despite all this Kanhaiya Kumar is going to win the elections. The people of Begusarai are ready to set a precedent in Indian politics .I think, if we want to save the democracy someone should be so vocal to ask question from the ruling party. He appropriately fits into that frame

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here