The candidature of former JNU Student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai constituency in Bihar acted as a "deal-breaker" between CPI and RJD in Bihar, as per the latter party. Manoj Jha, Rajya Sabha MP and RJD spokesperson said that the CPI-RJD alliance could not be forged because his party was not willing to compromise on its candidate Tanveer Hassan, considering his popularity and the work done by him in Begusarai. Lalu Yadav’s party also doubted Kumar's winnability quotient in view of several controversies surrounding him.
Clarifying his party’s stance, Jha said to PTI, "RJD has been a very strong force. Even during the peak of Modi wave in 2014 elections, Hassan got almost four lakh votes and since then he has never left Begusarai. It was impossible for us to set aside his candidature. People in Begusarai know him and our cadre wants him, there is nothing we could have done in such a case. We cannot upset our cadre, therefore another candidature than his became a deal-breaker."
Sources in the RJD added that there were several strong factors behind choosing Hassan - an old face, non-controversial image and minority tag - these would work in party’s favour even if they let go the alliance.
However, in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Hassan finished second by losing to BJP's Bhola Singh by a small margin of over 55,000 votes. CPI's Rajendra Singh was at a distant third with nearly 1.92 lakh votes.
Incidentally, according to sources in the CPI's Bihar unit, there was also discontentment among its section of leaders about the nomination of Kumar which led to breaking of deal with the RJD.
Jayant Jigyasu, who was a close aide of Kanhaiya during the sedition row but later parted ways to establish RJD's student wing in JNU said, "Kanhaiya was supported in JNU by different factions because he was seen as a leader and not an opportunist.” He added that he should have been dedicated to form an alliance to defeat the BJP, rather being adamant for the sake of his own political career. Explaining his comment he said, "There is nothing wrong in having political ambitions but there is much more he could have brought to the table than becoming a deal breaker at this crucial stage.
Kumar, who has emerged as a prominent face of Left politics, will make Begusarai a three-way contest with NDA's Giriraj Singh and RJD's Tanveer Hassan contesting from the place. He came into the limelight in 2016 and was later arrested on sedition charges following an event on hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru during which anti-national slogans were raised, videos of which were first accessed by Republic Bharat.
(With PTI inputs)