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Lok Sabha elections 2019: National, local issues equally important for Kanhaiya

At Koriya Haibatpur village, a cadre base of the Left, the political greenhorn begins his speech with a “krantikari istakbal” (revolutionary greeting).

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 27, 2019 14:00 IST
Ruchir Kumar
Ruchir Kumar
Hindustan Times, BEGUSARAI
Kanhaiya,National,Lok Sabha
Kanhaiya then talks about what he says is BJP’S politics of hatred by trying to divide communities. (HT Photo)

IT was a hectic day for Kanhaiya Kumar, former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union and CPI candidate from Begusarai Lok Sabha seat.

He had to travel in the wee hours from Begusarai to Patna, a stretch of 130 km, which usually takes four hours, meet senior comrades in Patna, fly to New Delhi in the afternoon and return to Patna the same evening, before driving back to his karmabhoomi (workplace).

Awake till 3am, holding meetings with cadre members and also giving bytes to national media, which has made a beeline to Begusarai, he was up again at 5.30am and back in a white SUV at 7.50am, heading towards the dusty terrains of Begusarai’s hinterlands.

Kanhaiya, who has been preparing political ground in Begusarai for the past two years, began intensive campaigning from April 2. His first objective, where he succeeded, was to ensure a large turnout on April 9, the day he filed his nomination from Begusarai as a CPI candidate.

“The impressive gathering at Kanhaiya’s nomination gave him the psychological edge over his main rivals — BJP’S Giriraj Singh and RJD’S Tanvir Hassan — before the real battle on April 29,” said Abhishek Kundan, a pass-out from the JNU, who has stood by Kanhaiya.

Kanhaiya, 32, may be young, but he has the gift of the gab. Aspiring to be the youngest parliamentarian in the 17th Lok Sabha, he knows the pulse of the locals as he talks to them in local dialect and swiftly shifts gears — from national to local issues — as the situation warrants.

HT followed Kanhaiya on his campaign trail to Parna village, having a sizeable population of Muslims.

Here he touches religious sentiments of voters by saying, “Ye ladai hai muddon ki aur mandir-masjid ki, hak aur loot ki, sach ya jhoot ki (this is a fight of issues versus temples and mosques; it’s a fight of people’s rights versus loot of public money; it’s a fight of truth versus lies).”

Kanhaiya then talks about what he says is BJP’S politics of hatred by trying to divide communities. Terming the Begusarai polls as a fight between “Modi and We the People…,” Kanhaiya sounds a note of caution to his supporters when he says, “The world is watching you… Your decision will decide the course of democracy.”

At Koriya Haibatpur village, a cadre base of the Left, the political greenhorn begins his speech with a “krantikari istakbal” (revolutionary greeting).

He then talks about local issues like the deplorable condition of educational institutions, the lack of teachers, slow pace of four-laning of Simaria-khagaria section (60.232 kms) of NH-31 in the district, poor health infrastructure, people not getting old-age pension, after-effects of demonetisation on small shopkeepers and rising unemployment.

Without taking the name of Giriraj Singh, who carries the tag of an ‘outsider’, he then sows the seeds of suspicion in people’s minds by asking them where they will go to when they need their MP to get a confirmed berth on train, an appointment at AIIMS-DELHI or to shield them from police ‘atrocities’.

As he rounds off his speech, Kanhaiya goes about meeting people with folded hands, soliciting votes. Some village elders insist on giving him cash as an aashirwaadi (blessings).

Kanhaiya, however, politely rejects the offer. Instead, with folded hands he seeks their blessings through votes before getting into the SUV and continuing with his campaign blitzkrieg.

First Published: Apr 27, 2019 14:00 IST