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Kanhaiya no match, Giriraj spent force: RJD Begusarai candidate Tanveer Hassan

twitter-logoPTI | April 25, 2019 | Updated 18:13 IST

By Gunjan Sharma New Delhi, Apr 25 (PTI) CPI's Kanhaiya Kumar is just a "new chap" and BJP's Giriraj Singh is a "kath ki handi" (spent force), says RJD's Tanveer Hassan, who is confident of his victory from Bihar's Begusarai Lok Sabha seat, which goes to polls on April 29. Dismissing the idea of a triangular contest in the constituency, Hassan said the fight is only between him and Singh, while Kumar is just "existing". Begusarai, once known as "Leningrad of Bihar" due to the strong presence of Left parties, converted into "Lalugrad" after the 90s, the RJD leader, who lost to BJP's Bhola Singh from the seat in 2014, told PTI. "The Communist Party (of India) had contested elections in 2014 as well and it had finished third in Begusarai. Kanhaiya is just a new chap and it's not that the party's vote share will double just with his name," Hassan said. "The ground reality is that the CPI is not better than what it was in the last elections and Kanhaiya is just existing in the triangle," he added. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, CPI's Rajendra Singh stood a distant third after the BJP and the RJD with nearly 1.92 lakh votes. Asked about the popularity of Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru Students' Union (JNUSU) president, in Begusarai, Hassan said, "It's all negative only. I may not be very popular with the media, but the ground reality is different." Kumar shot to fame after his arrest three years ago in a sedition case for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event in the JNU campus to commemorate the anniversary of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. "The Communist Party of India used to be popular before the 90s. After the 90's, the 'Leningrad' converted into 'Lalugrad' and they do not hold the same ground as before," Hassan said. The RJD candidate admitted that Singh could pose a challenge to him. "Giriraj Singh is a branded leader; BJP has all branded leaders only. He is famous for his controversial statements. His branding will pose a challenge, but it's not only the branding that can help him sail through. He is now a 'kath ki handi'. This is what happened in Nawada too," Hassan said. The BJP has fielded Singh, the sitting MP from Nawada, from Begusarai this year as the former constituency went to the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) as part of the NDA's seat sharing arrangement in Bihar. The firebrand leader was initially unwilling to contest from Begusarai. He agreed only after sulking for days and meeting BJP president Amit Shah. "Begusarai has suddenly become a hot seat in Indian politics and it feels like the entire country is watching what is happening here. The reality is that the public here is very politically sound, they vote smartly," Hassan said. An alliance between the RJD and the CPI could not be forged in Bihar due to the latter's reluctance to cede Begusarai seat to the Left party. The RJD was not willing to compromise on Hassan, citing his popularity and the work done by him in the constituency. "Even in the so-called Modi wave in 2014 elections, Hassan had got almost four lakh votes and since then he has never left Begusarai. It was impossible for us to set aside his candidature. We have a strong cadre and they wanted Tanveer Hassan and there is nothing we could have done," Rajya Sabha MP and RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha had told PTI last month. The candidature of another person became the "deal-breaker", he had said. PTI GJS DIV DIV

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