Giriraj vs Kanhaiya: Begusarai set for clash of titans

Last Updated 11 April 2019, 12:01 IST

Could it a be a coincidence that a parliamentary constituency in central Bihar — Begusarai has spoiled the mood of one of the most vocal BJP leaders Giriraj Singh as well as RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav.

The reasons are different for two leaders who can’t see eye-to-eye and remain mostly at loggerheads.

Union minister Giriraj Singh is reportedly unhappy with his party leadership for denying him the Lok Sabha seat Nawada, which he represents in the present Lok Sabha. He is all the more unhappy as all the other Union ministers from Bihar, including Radha Mohan Singh, R K Singh, Ram Kripal Yadav and Ashwini Choubey, have been allowed to contest from their existing parliamentary constituency.

Only he has been singled out and his seat Nawada has been allotted to LJP’s Veena Devi.

Bihar's Leningrad

Giriraj has been asked to contest from Begusarai, considered as Bihar’s Leningrad, where the Left has a stronghold in certain Assembly segments since the 1960s.

“If being a Bhumihar (dominant upper caste) makes me eligible to contest from Begusarai, then being a Hindu should also make me eligible to contest from Muslim-dominated Araria in north-eastern Bihar,” remarked Giriraj, expressing his apparent displeasure over being singled out.

On the other hand, Tejashwi is upset because the CPI, one of the constituents of the Mahagathbandhan, is adamant on fielding former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai. The Left has its own logic behind the move.

“Kanhaiya originally hails from Begusarai. He has his roots as his parents stay there. He is a good orator and could connect with local people in local dialect too. And lastly, Kanhaiya too is Bhumihar, the upper caste, which has a sizeable presence of over three lakhs in this constituency,” said CPI leader Satya Narayan Singh.

But Tejashwi is not keen that the CPI should field Kanhaiya from the Left stronghold. The RJD leader wants his own nominee Tanveer Akhtar, who lost marginally from Begusarai during 2014 Lok Sabha polls, to be fielded as the Grand Alliance candidate.

With the CPI refusing to yield, the tussle over the seat has reached a flashpoint where Mahagathbandhan may collapse even before the 2019 battle could begin in right earnest.

(Published 18 March 2019, 14:10 IST)

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