Kanhaiya Kumar files nomination: Former Jawaharlal Nehru University students union president Kanhaiya Kumar on Tuesday filed nomination for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from Begusarai constituency in Bihar. Kanhaiya, who is contesting the poll on Party of India (CPI) ticket, is up against Union minister Giriraj Singh. Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) has fielded Tanveer Hassan from the constituency which once was considered to be a Left citadel.
Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature from Begusarai had actually forced the RJD to call off its seat sharing deal with the CPI as it wanted to stay away from the student leader because of several controversies surrounding him. The RJD candidate will now be banking on division on votes between Giriraj Singh and Kanhaiya Kumar as both belong to the same Bhumihar caste.
The JNU scholar was arrested on charges of sedition in 2016 after anti-national slogans were raised during an event organised on campus to remember Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. The Delhi Police had in January this year filed a chargesheet against Kanhaiya Kumar and others for supporting the event.
Former JNU students’ union leader Kanhaiya Kumar files nomination as Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate from Begusarai constituency. #Bihar #LokSabhaElections2019 pic.twitter.com/dW8nnoeZq0
— ANI (@ANI) April 9, 2019
On the other hand, Giriraj Singh’s candidature was also caught up in controversy after the minister expressed his displeasure over party’s decision to shift him from Nawada to Begusarai. The Nawada seat has gone to Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) as part of seat sharing deal between the BJP, JD-U and LJP.
Begusarai constituency – caste combination
Begusarai, known as Leningrad of Bihar, is dominated by the upper caste Bhumihar community with about 4.5 lakh population. Muslim, Yadav and Extremely Backward Castes form the other sizeable vote bank with 2.5 lakh, 80,000 and about 1 lakh voters respectively.
In 2014, BJP’s Bhola Prasad Singh defeated RJD’s Tanveer Hassan by over 60,000 votes.