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.