The BJP has been caught in a peculiar situation with the firebrand party leader and Union minister Giriraj Singh reportedly refusing to contest against student leader Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai LS seat. Singh who is infamous for making controversial statements currently represents Nawada seat in Lok Sabha but now this seat has been given to the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) under the seat-sharing arrangement.
The angry Union minister is now camping in Delhi hoping that his demand will be “considered” by the party but the problem for the BJP is that the CPI has already announced the name of Kanhaiya, former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union, for the Begusari seat. It’s this announcement of Kanhaiya’s candidature that has posed problem for the BJP in the sense that if the Union minister is shifted to other constituency, the opposition will project it in a different way and will go to the masses telling them how Singh is scared of facing his rival in the poll arena.
Curiously, both Singh and Kanhaiya come from the same upper caste Bhumihar caste in the fellow castemen-dominated Begusarai seat which has robbed the Union minister of his sleep. It’s only too obvious that there will be a sharp split in Bhumihar votes in such a situation which could brighten the prospects of the RJD candidate.
In the last 2014 polls, RJD’s Tanvir Hasan had lost the seat with a margin of a little over 50,000 votes. His chances look brighter this time in the given situation. Apparently, that was the reason the CPI was not given the place in the seven-party Grand Alliance.
As per an estimate, the total Bhumihar voters in Begusarai are around 4.75 lakh followed by 2.5 lakh Muslims, some 2 lakh Kurmi Kushwaha and 1.5 lakh Yadavs. A sharp division in upper caste Bhumihar voters will, thus, obviously make going tough for Singh.