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Lok Sabha elections: Can Kanahiya Kumar emerge as the giant killer?


By Chris Emmanuel D'Souza

Apr 27: The Begusarai battle between fiery student activist Kanhaiya Kumar and the foul-mouthed hardliner and the Bihar BJP supremo Giriraj Singh is turning out to be a David vs Goliath fight. A little over a month ago, nobody would have given a chance to a new face of the likes of Kanahiya Kumar, against the Hindutva stalwart.

Giriraj Singh is an influential politician in the state of Bihar, and big ticket for the Modi government. He has been picked to run from Begusarai for a reason, and without his permission. He has repeatedly expressed his disappointment. But the reluctance on the part of Giriraj Singh to fight from Begusarai, away from his home seat, exposes some of his inherent fears against the gallant debutant. Having a wild past, Giriraj Singh has been taunted by Kanahiya in his speeches as the 'Pakistan's visa minister', a line that has hit hard. Is it Giriraj’s uneasiness in a new seat or is it fear against the opponent?

The battle between these two figures banking with poles apart ideologies, also brings to light the original David vs Goliath fight. It was the 1967 Lok Sabha election, and the Bombay (now Mumbai) south constituency had an incumbent king S K Patil, the Congress bigwig and the principal financial controller of the party. S K Patil had seen three consecutive victories previously and had declared to the nation 'even God cannot defeat me'.

Those were the days of rampaging trade union movements in Bombay largely headed by trade union activist George Fernandes. Fernandes was largely labeled as the 'Bandh Samrat', after several successful worker strikes. He had galvanized taxi drivers, textile mill workers and other league of industrial labourers across Bombay, and led an intense campaign against big corporations. With this massive grassroot level base, Fernandes was set up against S K Patil, by a little known Samyukta Socialist Party. Patil and the Congress party brushed this scare off, and prepared for a walkover. The press of the time was predominantly in favour of Patil and Congress. But Fernandes and his union workers weren’t going to bow down without a fight. They rallied door to door and people to people - with the slogan 'Only you can defeat the king'! The strategy worked, the movement stuck a chord, Fernandes and his workers had done the unthinkable by defeating the undefeated. The King was humbled. The Indira-led Congress was drenched in humiliation, Patil’s career came to an end. Fernandes was hailed the ‘Giant Killer’, emerging thereon as a national figure.

Kanhaiya Kumar has become a symbol of resistance movement in the Modi era. His iconoclastic oratory blended with craft, satire and humour has surgically sent nervous signals to his opponents. Just a few years ago, the man was spending nights behind prison bars, after some section of 'Godi media' ran a fabricated clip of him and his student union activists raising anti-national slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University campus. Three years later, the little known union leader has stormed out the media limelight and is making goonda politicians sweat.

In the last few years, Kanhaiya has been able to ignite the 'dead horse' old school socialist movement, but hasn’t found enough fodder to feed its faster growth. The left-leaning parties and activist groups are deeply divided and haven’t found a common ground, and are mostly operating among India’s marginalized population. The middle class and the affluent would avoid it. But some political pundits believe that this bits and pieces movement will unify at some point, and may blossom into a powerful counter narrative ideology to hindutva nationalism.

This election, as many claim is a event that will determine the fate of the idea of India, has brought many rebellious voices at the fore. If Kanhaiya can crack the glass ceiling of caste and creed politics of Bihar’s Begusarai constituency and do a George Fernandes style 'Giant Killer' act, it may spark the beginning of a long career of a robust and gutsy leader and a counter idea that can challenge the poison of hyper nationalism and fascism.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the above article are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Daijiworld. Daijiworld does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

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Comment on this article

  • anthony, Mangalore

    Fri, May 3 2019

    We need many more Kanahiya Kumars to stem the rot in the system and to counter Polarising and divisive politics of the BJP.

    DisAgree [5] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vincent Rodrigues, Katapadi/Bangaluru

    Thu, May 2 2019

    Good candidate ,fit to win.All the best.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Roshan, Mangaluru

    Sun, Apr 28 2019

    BJP always tried to discredit their opponents with false narratives. Kanahiya is the voice of middle class, who works honestly, fiercely independent and want peace. They live within their own means.

    Such people are threat to Modi led BJP. Look around, BJP worker is more happy to pull sleeves, show his saffron band and order any one what to do and what not to do. He or She believes it gives them the power over others. The person who speaks against them has to be ready to face harassment and violence. What they don't understand is, there will be one within themselves one day, because power corrupts all.

    Kanahiya has logical and rational thinking. He speaks for the middle class people, who are heart and soul of India. So, his win is certain and un-avoidable.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • roger, manipal

    Sun, Apr 28 2019

    Kanahiya kumar will win from begusarai. It is a primitive under developed place but people are very intelligent. without caste & creed the citizens of begusarai will make kanhiya win. Its educated smart people of Udupi have no choice than electing a good for nothing outsider. that's how we kill Democracy.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nawaz, Udupi/ Kuwait

    Sun, Apr 28 2019

    Kanhaiya Kumar alone is a National Party himself.

    DisAgree [11] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santosh, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    No matter who comes to power at the centre, Kanhaiya Kumar will be the voice of the common man in Indian Parliament!

    DisAgree [29] Agree [65] Reply Report Abuse

  • Allen, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Kanahiya Kumar is the right person to give fitting reply to our M. A.(Fekology) Ministers.

    DisAgree [25] Agree [62] Reply Report Abuse

  • alwyn soans, mangalore

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    we wish that Kanahiya Kumar rises and becomes the member of parliament .ALL the best

    DisAgree [28] Agree [74] Reply Report Abuse

  • Nawaz, Udupi/ Kuwait

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Kanhaiya Kumar of CPI is from Bhumihari caste. Giriraj Singh of BJp is also from Bhumihari caste. Tanveer Hasan of RJD is a Muslim.
    Bhumihari are 19% (Vote for Giriraj or Kanhaiya)
    Muslims are 15%( Vote for Tanveer or Kanhaiya)
    Yadavs 12%( Vote mostly for Tanveer of RJD or may be Kanhaiya)
    Scheduled caste 8%
    Kurmi 7%
    Koeysht Brahmin 7%
    Koeri 6%
    Rajput 4%
    Others 22%
    Those who really want development and equality in the society will vote for Kanhaiya irrespective of Party or Caste.

    DisAgree [24] Agree [56] Reply Report Abuse

  • k b r, Mangala Uru

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    kanhaiya will be perfect match for fekoo....fekoo will have a serpent watching over him in parliament

    DisAgree [26] Agree [60] Reply Report Abuse

  • flavian dsouza, chik/bengaluru

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    He will be the winner !!!even if he loses he has lot of depth and I think will continue his fight against the weakening of democracy ...

    DisAgree [22] Agree [50] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joe, Mangalore

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    He would have been a giant killer if he was fighting election against a sitting MP or big leaders, unnecessarily giving importance to him, he cannot be compared to the great leader like Mr George fernendes who was from mangalore and fought elections outside his state.

    DisAgree [39] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Yadav Suvarna, Mangalore/Mumbai

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    It is absurd to compare this tukde tukde guy to our great socialist leader Late Shri. Gearge Fernandes, who was a real hero for the downtrodden and labor class, who did wonder in Indian politics! This so called the 'giant killer' is just a puppet in the hands of some failed leaders and can not be a threat to Shri Giriraj Singh.

    DisAgree [33] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Bridget, Udupi

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Kanahiya Kumar talks the truth, we need a youth icon like him, he has the courage to question those who are in power. At least he should reach the parliament.

    DisAgree [20] Agree [70] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rao, Udupi

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Kanahiya will loose as RJD-Cong is also on fight.

    Giriraj is good in polarisation.

    DisAgree [66] Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Kanahiya Kumar should have fought from Varanasi ...

    DisAgree [22] Agree [90] Reply Report Abuse

  • j.anata, Mangaluru / Bengaluru

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Actually Raul Vinci should have contested from Varanasi instead of Wayanad or Amethi

    DisAgree [75] Agree [40] Reply Report Abuse

  • 'Main Bhi Berozgar' Anil Rai, Dakshina Kannada

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Actually , Modi chowkidar of Ambanis, Adanis....etc..should have contested from Wayanad or Amethi instead of Varanasi.

    DisAgree [10] Agree [45] Reply Report Abuse

  • j.anata, Mangaluru / Bengaluru

    Sat, Apr 27 2019

    Actually he could have been a giant killer as this story claims - But there is a RJD-CONgress candidate contesting against Giriraj. Combined opposition would have been better.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [46] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ronald D, Udupi

    Sun, Apr 28 2019

    J anata, you do not know how to spell Congress and name of its president! I will always wish Kanahiya wins against communal fanatic candidates! He will certainly bring a change for the poor and marginalized voices! I do not mind Modi winning and the next PM! I am unhappy about the extra baggage trying to use his name same case in DK too!! Good candidates are needed today than those using others identity for power and wealth!

    DisAgree [2] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

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