NEW DELHI — When Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature was announced in Bihar, it was met with sheer media frenzy. Kumar, the ‘son of the soil’ may have been a newbie, but his nomination clearly rattled the BJP. Veteran Giriraj Singh was forcibly moved from Nawada, his usual constituency in Bihar and made to contest from Begusarai. Singh threw a tantrum and initially refused to campaign from Begusarai.
However, the results have made it clear that BJP got their strategy right as Singh left Kumar behind by more than two lakh votes.
WHAT WENT WRONG?
The odds were stacked against Kumar right from the beginning. BJP won from Begusarai in 2014, Kumar did not have the muscle power and money that the national parties have and CPI anyway doesn’t have a significant presence in the state.
However, Kumar’s popularity with both Hindi and English speaking youth and his proximity to the constituency were factors that were assumed would work in his favour.
Clearly, it did not.
The single biggest reason behind this drubbing seems to be the split of the“secular” vote between Kumar and RJD candidate Tanveer Hasan.
As per the trends till now, Tanveer has garnered 1,93,058 votes, whereas Kumar has 2,61,890 votes. Giriraj Singh was leading with 6,68,563 votes when this article was published.
While BJP leaders workers in Begusarai were confused if Giriraj would contest or not, Kumar had reached out to all assembly segments in this Lok Sabha constituency.
Varun Chavan, a close aide of Kumar told HuffPost India, that Hasan’s candidature damaged Kumar’s chances a ‘110 percent’. “It is for the entire country to see how the vote got split here,” he said.
Earlier, there were reports that RJD leader and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s son Tejaswi Yadav was insecure about Kumar’s soaring popularity and would not compromise on the Begusarai seat. He put a halt to plans of having Kumar as BJP’s primary adversary and throwing RJD’s weight behind him. CPI’s...