Kanhaiya, the keen debater
Kanhaiya Kumar is not a new face of Begusarai. He is the local lad who will stand in the forthcoming Lok sabha elections from Begusarai on a CPI ticket. From his school days, he was interested in debating and acting. He was a keen debater and took great interest in plays. He was equally good in academics and got first class throughout in this academic career.
Kanhaiya Kumar has been embroiled in controversy ever since he stepped into JNU to do a doctoral course in African studies. He was involved in politics and got elected as the president of the JNU student’s union.
He was arrested on 12th February 2016, by the Delhi police on charges of seditions and criminal conspiracy as he organized the protest meeting of hanging of terrorist Afzal Guru. He was found on video protesting vehemently and continuously shouting “We want freedom”.
Later he denied it and said that that video was fabricated and he was falsely implicated. He was beaten up in the police station, while being produced in court by the pro BJP lawyers; he was threatened by the BJP Student Union ABVP cadres. He was sentenced to Tihar for few days and set free on a bail of Rs. 10000 with a stern warning that he would not participate in anti national activities.
He accuses the army of rape
After his release from Jail, he gave a speech in the JNU auditorium that he sought freedom within India not freedom from India, in a vivid clarification. On 8th of March 2016, he gave a speech on the International Women’s Day that Indian army was raping kashmiri women in the valley and the special power to the armed forces should be withdrawn. By this speech he again angered the BJP people. Some of the BJP threatened to kill him and one gave a bounty of 5 lacs to pull his tongue out.
Kanhaiya, in the politician’s robe
Leaving all these behind Kanhaiya Kumar is now a lok sabha candidate from Begusarai on CPI ticket. Begusarai is industrial district of Bihar and a corridor to the north east. Here the land is fertile and not affected by floods. Agriculture is secure as it is not affected by natural calamities and trade would prosper due to the corridor. However, the locals are neither rich nor do they have access to good earning. This is where Kanhaiya Kumar would like to hit hard with his strategy. Begusarai is a hardcore communist zone. Any welfare or any approach to egalitarianism would be rewarded, and the appalling apathy towards the masses would be punished.
Three pronged battle
Here is one issue, there are three main contenders: Giriraj Singh- BJP, Tanveer Hasan- RJD and Kanhaiya Kumar – CPI. The theme of this lok sabha election is BJP versus rest. It was suggested to the RJD to forgo this seat as CPI doesnot want the votes to be split, but RJD Tejashwi Yadav did not want to let it go inspite of the assurances given to him that Kanhaiya Kumar would win this election.
Given an extra contender in the fray in Begusarai will prove to be little challenging. There are certain supporters of RJP who would vote according to the loyalty and CPI would not get those votes although they are against the BJP and share the similar ideology of CPI. In the 2014 elections CPI gathered 200000 votes. So Kanhaiya kumar has a guaranteed vote base of 200000 votes and if he could get the votes of RJD, that would be an advantage to start with.
Now the dicey part. He is a bhumihar by birth, and the bhumihars voted for the BJP in 2014. It is yet to be seen how many of the bhumihars vote for him on basis of caste. As caste and religion plays a big role in the Hindi heartland. On the religious front, RJD has sent a Muslim candidate on the assumption that he will draw the major number of Muslim votes. Kanhaiya has already handled the matter before joining the election fray. He cried for Afzal Guru, had a Muslim Student leader Umar Khalid, and has been critical of the manner BJP has handled the Islam factor by suppressing it. It has been confirmed that many friends from JNU will campaign for him and Jignesh Mewani and Hardik Patel who were logger heads with Modi, will be beside him to support him. It seems that on these fronts BJP is losing the game.
His funding issues
The formidable handicap with Kanhaiya Kumar is money, this is where BJP is miles ahead of this poor, rather very poor contender. BJP candidates are dripping in money from their hands, Kanhaiya kumar has nothing much to call his own. His little house, sick father, old mother, brother who is away for work and meager royalty on his book “Bihar to Tihar- my political journey”. Kanhaiya kumar launched a crowd funding campaign to gather money for polls through a website. He collected 2.8 millions rupees in the last 28 hours, but his funding program was cut short by hackers who continuously tried to hack the website and bring it down. Kumar has taken to Facebook to reach out to his supporters and he made assurances that the website would be normal and their money will go into saving democracy. A make shift kitchen fire is burning throughout making humble meals for the campaign workers, who are eager to see their candidate win. A constant supply of fund is required to keep the fire burning and meals being served. BJP is trying its best to put out the fire and let hunger overwhelm the campaigners.
It seems from the events that are developing, that the BJP is hell bent on not only winning but save its prestige. If Kumar will against BJP Giriraj Singh, it will be serious loss of face at the national level.