Many top celebrities from Bollywood are slated to campaign for CPI candidate and former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar in Bihar’s Begusarai Lok Sabha constituency.
This includes veteran actors Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhaskar, Prakash Raj, writer-cum-lyricist Javed Akhtar, director Imtiaz Ali and TV-cum-theatre actor Sonal Jha. The Left outfit is also roping in Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar and Gujarat leader Hardik Patel to campaign for the CPI candidate.
Confirming this, senior party leader and one of the star campaigners of the Communist Party of India, Nivedita Jha told DH that “talks are underway and we are chalking out programmes of different celebrities from tinsel town, who are likely to canvass for Kanhaiya.”
Meanwhile, 32-year-old Left leader Kanhaiya, who is making his Lok Sabha poll debut against BJP’s Giriraj Singh (also a Union Minister in Narendra Modi Government) from Begusarai, launched a crowd-funding platform in partnership with Our Democracy. The purpose was to collect fund from common people (barring foreign countries and foreign citizens) which could be used for his campaigning.
“The aim was to collect Rs 70 lakh, as mandated by the poll panel. The website elicited a tremendous response as Rs 30 lakh was collected by Kanhaiya’s team in three days.
However, it was shut down once the hackers attacked the platform,” said a CPI source, adding that the fund collected was safe.
“We suspect it (hacking) could be the handiwork of the ruling establishment,” said the party leader.
Kanhaiya faces one of the toughest battles in Bihar as Begusarai is considered to be a fiefdom of Bhumihars, the dominant upper caste, who are numerically
strong (around four lakhs out of 17 lakh electorate) in this parliamentary constituency
Incidentally, both Giriraj and Kanhaiya belong to the same Bhumihar caste, but Kanhaiya’s earthy approach, oratory skills and humble background (his mother is Aanganwadi worker) gives him an edge over his rival.
However, RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav has put a spanner in Kanhaiya’s plan after Lalu’s party fielded 2014 Lok Sabha poll runners-up from Begusarai, Tanveer Hasan, as Mahagatbandhan nominee.
A triangular contest always suits BJP. But it’s equally possible that the battle between two Bhumihars could make the road for the third party candidate, that too a minority, smooth.