Begusarai, one of the 40 Lok Sabha constituencies in Bihar voted on 29 April 2019 in the fourth phase of India’s 2019 General Elections, bringing an end to the much-hyped canvassing and sealing the fate of the candidates in EVMs. A Communist stronghold in the past and traditionally referred to as the ‘Leningrad of Bihar’, the constituency had elected MP’s from the JD(U) and BJP in the 2009 and 2014 elections respectively. Begusarai gained prominent political presence this year, as India’s most loved and loathed student- Kanhaiya Kumar, former President of JNU’s Student’s Union was set to contest as a Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate from there and aimed to replant the red flag. He faced an uphill task of combating BJP’s Giriraj Singh, MP of the 16th Lok Sabha from Nawada constituency and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s Tanweer Hassan. The political parties have relied largely on the demographics of Begusarai, with the upper caste Bhumiars being the largest group, the Muslims ranking second, followed by the Yadavs, Kurmis and then the Kushwahas, Mallahs, Dhanuks etc. The BJP with it’s ensign of Hindutva banked heavily on Bhumiar, Kurmi and Economically Backward Classes (EBC) votes in the name of nationalism and the NDA leadership, while the RJD carried on it’s old approach of fielding a lone Muslim candidate, in order to amalgamate Muslim-Yadav vote.
However, Kanhaiya Kumar seems to have the edge over the other veteran candidates and it is important for him to win on debut. He has become a symbol of resistance and dissent, which has catapulted him at the forefront of a healthy ideological democracy. The ‘Azaadi’ balladeer represents the youth and his presence in the Parliament will echo the voices of those lynched, attacked and subjugated. His victory will be a testament to the struggle against the politics of religious bigotry and jingoism. Examining the situation of the elections in Begusarai from the angle of caste and religion may be unfair, since traditionally ideology has been a key factor there. The fact that a political debutant being fielded from a dwindling political party, and representing an already fizzled out ideology was able to create a triangular contest against two giants of the state, is testimony to the fact that Kanhaiya Kumar might have already brought about a revolution. With his humble background, Kumar was able to connect with the masses and with each day of campaigning he had emerged stronger. The man’s finesse in the knowledge of politics and history, have been exhibited time and again in his speeches, words of which have always been pulled out from the Constitution of India. Equipped with exceptional oratory skills, Kanhaiya Kumar can even give the current Prime Minister a run for his money, instances of which have been observed on national television as well. It will be a decisive victory for democracy if Kanhaiya Kumar wins, since he would stand for liberty, tolerance and truth, routing out the forces of authoritarianism, religious intolerance and impunity.
Good analysis by the author. Fully agree with his view.
The idea of democracy depends upon freedom from government controls and ease of business, which are the exact factors the “fizzled out” ideology of communism stands against.
The staunch stance given to Kanhaiya Kumar against PM Narendra Modi by the writer on the virtue of his exceptional oratory skills stands mangled by the backward ideology and dwindling existence of the party backing him.
How does Kanhaiya Kumar stand to morph the backward mentality of the forefathers of CPI, which has been logically dismantled through the years by electoral mandate, to bring about a positive change in the constituency?
Yes,communism does face a state of decline in our nation and has been guilty of radicalism in the past. But in my opinion, Kanhaiya Kumar is not a man who can be tamed and that is what upraises his political stature. The foundation of modern India was done on the principles of socialism and Kanhaiya should be able to revive those tenets.
If we compare the candidates being fielded by the other parties like Poonam Sinha for Samajwadi Party, Nusrat Jahan, Moon Moon Sen, Satabdi Roy, Mimi Chakroborty and Dev for TMC, Sunny Deol, Gautam Gambhir and VIjender Singh for BJP, it is evident that individuals who won’t question the authority of the party supremos have been fielded, unlike Kanhaiya Kumar.
Yes,communism is indeed a waning ideology in India and has very few takers. But Kanhaiya Kumar is a man who can’t be tamed easily and that is what upraises his position as the perfect candidate for the world’s largest democratic exercise.
If we were to compare CPI or any other socialist party’s candidates to that of the other parties like Poonam Sinha for Samajwadi Party, Mimi Chakroborty,Nusrat Jahan,Moon Moon Sen and Dev for TMC, Vijender Singh,Sunny Deol and Gautam Gambhir for BJP to name a few, it is pretty evident that those parties have fielded individuals who are less likely to question the authority of the party supremos. In contrast, Kanhaiya Kumar is an allegory of dissent and that is what works for him.
And as for the “dwindling ideology”, the foundation of modern India was done on the principles of socialism and individuals like Kanhaiya will be able to revive it. He isn’t representing any specific caste or community, but rather is working for the people in general.
India needs to undergo a revolution on the political scene, which revolves around choosing the less worse candidate in the election. Historically, Begusarai has been viewed as a decisive zone of Bihar, hence, as per the author’s views, I fully agree that it is important for him to win on debut, else the revolution shall fizzle out and it will be years before another such revolutionary comes by.
KanhaiyaKumar, with his earthy logic and honesty, breathes a whiff of fresh air like Kejriwal did in the past. May he revive the almost dead tradition of good debate in parliament.