Ready to make poll debut from Bihar: Kanhaiya

PATNA, DHNS: Former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar conceded, arguably for the first time, that he is ready to make his election debut from Bihar during the 2019 parliamentary polls.

Speaking exclusively to DH, 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 Opposition Grand Alliance must also be taken into confidence."

DH has reliably learnt that the Grand Alliance has already cleared Kanhaiya's name to contest from Begusarai.

The political greenhorn, who was recently appointed a member of the CPI National Council, is likely to lock horns with BJP veteran and controversial Union Minister Giriraj Singh.

Giriraj, who is known to polarise votes ahead of any election — whether for the Assembly or Lok Sabha — is likely to be fielded by the BJP from Begusaria and not Nawada, which is his present Lok Sabha constituency.

Incidentally, both Kanhaiya and Giriraj belong to the dominant, upper-caste Bhumihar community. However, Kanhaiya says he believes in inclusive democracy, where all sections have to be taken along.

"Why should the media talk of caste and 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 me. 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 leader, he said.

"Similarly, a couple of days ago, an FIR under Section 307 (an attempt to murder) was lodged against me by some Bajrang Dal activists when 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 said.

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 the Constitution and Indian democracy. But I am portrayed (by the BJP) as being diametrically opposite".

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Ready to make poll debut from Bihar: Kanhaiya

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