Kanhaiya Kumar — Threat to BJP?

CPI candidate and former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s student union Kanhaiya Kumar’s decision to contest Lok Sabha polls from Begusarai has sent BJP and Shiv Sena jitters. Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut had stated that BJP should defeat Kanhaiya Kumar at any cost. Addressing him as a “bottle of poison”, Raut stated in Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamana that BJP should make sure that Kumar is not elected in Lok Sabha even at the cost of tampering electronic voting machines (EVMs). The district election officer had sent notice to Raut for the violation of Model Code of Conduct by making comments against Kanhaiya Kumar.

Senior CPI(M) leader and MLA Jeeva Gavit told Afternoon Voice, “Kanhaiya Kumar is a young leader and can pose a challenge to BJP, which is trying hard to stop him from coming to power. Sanjay Raut has issued inappropriate comments against Kanhaiya Kumar; hence, the Election Commission has sent a notice to him. Kanhaiya Kumar is a true patriot and people take his comments seriously. Our national bureau will take a decision pertaining to the action to be taken against Sanjay Raut.”

Kanhaiya, who has formally joined CPI council, has already addressed more than 100 public meeting in every part of Begusarai Lok Sabha constituency as a part of his public dialogues or “Jan Samvad Karyakram”. BJP has fielded Union Minister Giriraj Singh against Kumar. Kanhaiya Kumar is emerging as a strong contender to challenge the BJP from Begusarai constituency. Both Kanhaiya Kumar and Giriraj Singh belong to the Bhumihar caste. An interesting contest is on the cards to see who manages to garner maximum votes. Kanhaiya has been actively campaigning from Begusarai for the last two months.

JD(U) MLA Kapil Patil said, “Kanhaiya Kumar is a patriot and supports poor people. I am confident that people will back him. It is not right to issue statements pertaining to EVM tampering. Patriotism is all about loving people residing from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. If you love the people living in the country, then you are a patriot.”

Kanhaiya Kumar had to face stiff opposition from local residents while campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls. They stopped the vehicle in which he was travelling and the crowd didn’t allow him to enter the village. His vehicle too was attacked by them. The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and Bajrang Dal activists chanted slogan ‘anti-national go back’ and waved black flags. Kanhaiya Kumar held BJP candidate Giriraj Singh responsible for the attack. Kanhaiya stated that Giriraj is worried about his defeat and hence, he had planned attack on his vehicle.

Shiv Sena MLA Sunil Prabhu said, “Saamana is a paper which promotes nationalism. Editor Sanjay Raut had written from patriotism point of view and there is nothing wrong in it. Somebody might have filed a complaint against Raut to the Election Commission and hence, they had sent a notice to him. Sanjay Raut possesses a good team who can give a reply to the Election Commission.”

Kanhaiya stated that Giriraj has accepted defeat and therefore, he is making a mockery of democracy by sending goons to attack him. Even security offered to him was withdrawn. Thus, political observers believe that it seems BJP has become anxious about Kanhaiya emerging victorious in the election and targeting him. Kanhaiya also added that Giriraj lacks an agenda and has been insulted by people. Kanhaiya further said that Giriraj becoming frustrated and resorting to violent activities is an outcome of the same.

BJP leader Manoj Kotak spoke to Afternoon Voice and stated, “According to me, Sanjay Raut had made the right comment against Kanhaiya Kumar. Kanhaiya can never be a threat as BJP is an ideology-driven national party. On the other hand, everybody is aware of what ideology Kanhaiya Kumar belongs to!”

Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested in 2016 on the charges of sedition for allegedly organising an event in Jawaharlal Nehru University campus against the hanging of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru. The police had filed the 1,200-page chargesheet against Kanhaiya Kumar and other student leaders in the sedition case. Kanhaiya termed his arrest as politically motivated. The arrests had triggered a huge controversy with the opposition slamming the police for working at the behest of BJP. After Kanhaiya Kumar’s arrest, his popularity soared and protests were held across the country. The election will be held in Begusarai on April 29 and results will be declared on May 23.