‘If I am anti-national, arrest me; why provide me security guards’

Ready to make poll debut from Bihar: Kanhaiya

The former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar conceded, arguably for the first time, that he was ready to make his election debut from Bihar during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Speaking exclusively with the Deccan Herald, the firebrand leader, against whom two FIRs were recently lodged in two different districts in Bihar, said, “I am willing to make my poll debut as the CPI candidate during the 2019 Lok Sabha. Most probably, I will contest the election from Begusarai, my hometown. But it will be too early to make such announcement as other partners in the Grand Alliance (the RJD, Congress and Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustan Awam Morcha, besides the Left allies) have also to be taken into confidence.”

Deccan Herald has reliably learnt that the Grand Alliance has already cleared the name of Kanhaiya to contest from Begusarai. The political greenhorn, who has recently been appointed as member of the CPI National Council, is likely to lock horns with BJP veteran and a controversial Union Minister Giriraj Singh.

Giriraj, who is known to polarise votes ahead of any poll, be it Assembly elections or Lok Sabha polls, is likely to be fielded by the BJP from Begusaria, not Nawada – his present Lok Sabha constituency.

Incidentally, both Kanhaiya and Giriraj belong to the dominant Upper caste – Bhumihars. However, Kanhaiya says he believes in inclusive democracy, where all sections have to be taken along.

“Why should media talk of caste or religion every now and then? Or, for that matter, why should the media focus on a person who is hell-bent on dividing society in the name of religion and sow seeds of hatred,” said Kanhaiya, in an oblique reference to Giriraj.

“The BJP and its fringe groups are desperate to paint a wrong picture of mine. It happened in New Delhi in 2016. It happened at AIIMS-Patna last week where I was called ‘anti-national’ when I went to meet an ailing Sushil Kumar, an All India Students’ Federation (AISF) leader. Similarly, a couple of days back, an FIR under Section 307 (an attempt to murder) was lodged against me by some Bajrang Dal activists while I was returning to Begusarai after addressing a CPI meet at Mansoorchak. We never attacked anyone. Rather, my partymen, travelling in another car, were stoned,” he cleared the air.

Objecting to the term ‘Goonda’ used by Bihar’s Health Minister Mangal Pandey, Kanhaiya said, “He calls me ‘Goonda’. Others in the BJP call me ‘anti-national’. If I am anti-national, then arrest me. Why have you (the government) given me security guards? The fact is I believe in Indian Constitution and Indian democracy. But I am portrayed (by the BJP) diametrically opposite.”

ALSO READ: Shabana, Javed Akhtar to campaign for Kanhaiya in Bihar

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