Updated April 15th, 2024 at 12:32 IST

Kanhaiya vs Manoj Tiwari in North East Delhi: How It Promises To Be A Seat To Watch Out For

Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi under a 3:4 seat-sharing agreement

Reported by: Apoorva Shukla
Kanhaiya Kumar to contest from North East Delhi Lok Sabha seat against BJP's Manoj Tiwari | Image:PTI
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New Delhi: The Congress party has fielded Kanhaiya Kumar from North-East Delhi seat for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections against Bharatiya Janata Party's two-time MP Manoj Tiwari. Speculations were rife that after losing a chance in Bihar, the grand old party may try to accommodate Kanhaiya in Delhi. The Congress party on Sunday released a fresh list of candidates announcing candidates for the Lok Sabha seats it is contesting in the national capital as part of the INDI alliance. 

The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are contesting the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi under a 3:4 seat-sharing agreement, with the AAP contesting on four seats and the Congress on three. Delhi will go to polls on May 25 and the counting of votes will take place on June 4.

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Who is Kanhaiya Kumar?

Kanhaiya Kumar is a former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) president who came to the limelight following his arrest in 2016 for allegedly raising "anti-national" slogans on the university campus. He was released later after an investigation revealed that the slogans were raised by outsiders.

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Kanhaiya Kumar is now the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in-charge of the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students' wing of the Congress. He had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Begusarai on a CPI ticket but lost to the BJP's Giriraj Singh.

Upon being fielded by party in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Kanhaiya Kumar said, "I want to thank the people of Delhi and state Congress committee, all party workers and leadership. This decision will give a message to the country that we are fighting the Lok Sabha elections with strength. We will continue our fight for justice."

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Kanhaiya vs Manoj Tiwari in Delhi 

Kanhaiya Kumar will be contesting against the BJP's two-time MP from the North East Delhi constituency and Bhojpuri singer actor-turned-politician Manoj Tiwari. A well known Purvanchali face of BJP in Delhi, Tiwari was born and brought up in Bihar.

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Manoj Tiwari enjoys an impeccable track record in North East Delhi- from where he is contesting for the third time in a row. Manoj Tiwari is the former president of BJP's Delhi unit.  He won the North East Delhi seat in 2019, defeating former Delhi chief minister and Congress candidate Sheila Dikshit by a huge margin. 

He fought his first Lok Sabha election as a Samajwadi Party candidate from Gorakhpur against present Uttar Present Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in 2009.

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The Battle For North-East Delhi

The Congress party seems to have fielded Kanhaiya Kumar from the North East Delhi seat in order to bank on the ‘Purvanchali’ factor as both the leaders hail from Bihar.

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Encompassing ten assembly seats- Burari, Timarpur, Seemapuri, Rohtas Nagar, Seelampur, Ghonda, Babarpur, Gokalpur, Mustafabad and Karawal Nagar, the North-East Delhi parliamentary constituency has a unique demographic blend. As the constituency shares a border with Uttar Pradesh- migrants from states like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Bihar form a major chunk of voters in the region. 

Manoj Tiwari is the only sitting MP to be fielded by the BJP in the national capital owing to two major factors- first Manoj Tiwari enjoys a high regard among the people of not only Delhi but also the Hindu belt due to his career in cinema and secondly, he is credited for bringing the migrants into the fold of BJP which was traditionally viewed as a party of Punjabis and Baniyas in Delhi. 

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Can Kanhaiya take on the BJP MP, this only time would tell. However, sources in the Congress party said that leaders fear that fielding Kanhiaya against Tiwari may result into polarisation, ultimately benefitting BJP

Kanhaiya's Past Stint With Electoral Politics 

This is the second stint of Kanhaiya Kumar, looked up as a fierce orator, with electoral politics as he unsuccessfully contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from Bihar's Begusarai Lok Sabha seat. 

Begusarai has traditionally been a communist stronghold and was once referred to as the "Leningrad of Bihar", however, Giriraj Singh's massive victory changed the perception. Giriraj Singh won the Begusarai seat with a margin of more than four lakh votes. It was suggested that the Rashtriya Janata Dal assisted Singh by fielding its own candidate who cut into the anti-BJP votes. 

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The spirited campaign in favour of Kanhaiya saw Bollywood personalities like Javed Akhtar, Prakash Raj and Swara Bhaskar travelling to the nondescript Bihar town, a much talked about aspect of the crowd-funded electioneering. This time too Congress was to field Kanhaiya from the Begusarai seat, however, the CPI claimed the seat as part of the INDI alliance. 

 

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Published April 15th, 2024 at 08:36 IST