Sunday, March 24, 2019

Kanhaiya Kumar Is Left Candidate From Begusarai After Coalition Snub

The decision was taken by the Left on Saturday, a day after Kanhaiya Kumar was left out of the opposition coalition in Bihar. File image of Kanhaiya Kumar | Commons
Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Kanhaiya Kumar was the president of the JNU students' union

PATNA: Kumar, the former president of the JNU students' union, will be the CPI's candidate from Bihar's Begusarai for the national election. This will be the firebrand student leader's entry into the electoral politics.

The decision was taken by the Left on Saturday, a day after Mr Kumar was left out of the opposition coalition in Bihar. He will be joint candidate of the Left parties from Begusarai.

Kanhaiya Kumar was widely expected to be the opposition's candidate from Begusarai. However, no seats were given to the CPI and CPI-M, making it clear that Mr Kumar will not be supported by the mahagathbandhan or grand alliance. The seat fell into Tejashwi Yadav's RJD's share.
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Left parties in Bihar slammed the opposition for excluding them in the seat-sharing formula, saying the decision was not in sync with the ground realities in the state.
A significant reason why Kanhaiya Kumar was left out of the opposition coalition is that Begusarai - called the Leningrad of Bihar as it is the Ground Zero of Left politics in the state - is considered safe for a Muslim candidate. The RJD plans to field Tanvir Hasan, who lost in 2014 by a margin of 60,000 votes. In 2009, Janata Dal United candidate Monazir Hasan won this seat.
The RJD's decision to stick to this seat was also prompted by the fact that party was apprehensive that if it backs Kanhaiya Kumar, then Chief Minister Nitish Kumar might take him in his party.

The RJD’s change in stand, with regard to Kumar, appears to have come after Tejashwi Yadav took over reins of the party. Tejashwi’s father, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, had accorded a warm welcome to the student leader in 2016 and had last year indicated that he would support his candidature from Begusarai.
RJD sources believe Kanhaiya Kumar has less chances of standing up to the BJP's candidate Giriraj Singh, a Union Minister known for his controversial pronouncements. Kanhaiya's Bhumihar caste, say the sources, may be more inclined to back Giriraj Singh.

These technical  arguments apart, the core reason for rejection of Kanhaiya Kumar by the RJD was his superb oratorical skills which threatened the popularity of Tejashwi Yadav, deemed the successor to Lalu’s legacy.

The national election will be held from April 11 to May 19 in seven rounds. Bihar, which has 40 Lok Sabha seats, will vote in seven phases - April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12, and May 19. The results will be declared on May 23.--NDTV

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