Begusarai election result: BJP's Giriraj Singh is leading while his nearest CPI rival Kanhaiya Kumar trails. The RJD has fielded Tanveer Hassan.
Begusarai Lok Sabha election result: BJP has won the Begusarai Lok Sabha seat by a margin of 394,129 votes. The constituency saw a triangular contest between BJP’s firebrand leader Giriraj Singh, CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar and RJD’s Tanveer Hassan. Begusarai was the citadel of Communist politics for a few decades post-Independence. However, the CPI won from here only once in 1967. If Kanhaiya could manage to invade the electoral equations of the BJP and RJD, it would have marked the return of Communist-inspired politics in the state. His victory could have also catapulted his status from a co-accused in the 2016 JNU sedition case to a parliamentarian.
BEGUSARAI LOK SABHA ELECTION RESULTS LIVE:
3.47 pm: Giriraj Singh wins the seat with a margin of 394,129 votes. Singh’s victory decimated CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar to 251,276 votes.
2.26 pm: Giriraj Singh continues his good show and takes huge lead from Begusarai against CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar. So far, Singh has amassed 507,898 votes while his rival Kumar has managed to get 201,357 votes.
12.32 pm: Union minister Giriraj Singh takes a huge lead against CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai. Currently, he is leading by 177,876 votes.
11.17 am: BJP candidate and union minister Giriraj Singh has taken a strong lead from Begusarai Lok Sabha seat against his rival candidate Kanhaiya Kumar. Singh is leading with 238,506 votes.
9.24 am – BJP candidate Giriraj Singh is leading with 13,490 votes. CPI’s Kanhaiya Kumar is trailing with 9,681 votes.
9 am: According to initial trends, BJP candidate Giriraj Singh is leading on Begusarai seat. His nearest rival and CPI nominee Kanhaiya Kumar trails.
The Begusarai seat has been in the NDA’s kitty since 2004. Before this, the Congress dominated Begusarai’s electoral politics, thanks to the demography of the region. According to the Election Commission data, Begusarai has 17,78,759 electors. In 2014, BJP’s Bhola Singh had defeated RJD’s Hassan by a thin margin of 60,000 votes pocketing nearly 40% votes. The constituency had seen a 60.60% turnout this election.
However, this time the BJP has replaced Bhola Singh with Giriraj Singh who carries an image of a staunch Hindutva leader. Singh, a Bhumihar by caste, had won from Nawada in 2004 and wanted to seek re-election from here. But the BJP after carefully working out the caste arithmetic decided to field Singh against Kanhaiya and Hassan.
The Begusarai constituency has the highest population of the upper caste Bhumihar — nearly 4.5 lakh (around 25%). Muslims comprise 2.5 lakh (around 15%) of the total population followed by Yadav (80,000), Kurmi, Kushwaha, Mallah, Brahmin and some other SCs and EBC. The Bhumihars are very active in politics and most of the leaders across parties come from this caste.
Both Kanhaiya and Giriraj are Bhumihars by caste. BJP’s decision to field Singh against Kanhaiya was strategically important to avoid division of forward votes who are its traditional voters. This time, the RJD once again has fielded Hassan and hopes to win the seat with the possible split of the Bhumihar votes between Giriraj and Kanhaiya. Begusarai which is also known as Leningrad of Bihar also has a sizeable number of CPI cadre across caste lines. In 2014, CPI’s Rajendra Prasad had got 17.87%.
This time, the election campaign of parties largely centered around the issue of nationalism, thanks to the election pitch set by the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While Giriraj said that he was fighting against the “tukde-tukde gang” and those who want to divide the country, Kanhaiya’s campaign was restricted to the BJP’s alleged attempt to amend the Constitution. The BJP’s campaign was bolstered by party president Amit Shah, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and other NDA candidates, a few from Hindi film industry like Javed Akhtar campaigned for Kanhaiya.
The Begusarai constituency went to polls in the fifth phase on May 6. The seat recorded a turnout of 61.27%.