File photo: Kanhaiya Kumar. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
That Kanhaiya Kumar was never in the race in his constituency was a foregone conclusion. As was the imminent wipeout of the Left in Bengal and Kerala.
The humiliating defeat of Kanhaiya Kumar in Begusarai in Bihar by a margin of over 4.22 lakh votes, along with the complete shift of Left votes to the BJP in Bengal and the virtual wipeout of Communists in Kerala, indicate how off-the-mark our secular-liberal activists are.
That Kanhaiya was never in the race in his constituency was a foregone conclusion. As was the imminent wipeout of the Left in Bengal and Kerala - except in the eyes of a section of Delhi-based public opinion makers and intellectuals.
The Facebook warriors sitting outside the state or even the country pushed a section of people to believe that Kanhaiya was the great Left hope. They wasted their energy in Begusarai, never realising that their support-base in neighbouring Bengal was shifting to the BJP. They did little to prevent this huge shift.
While some of them were busy spreading a false narrative about the Communists hold in Begusarai, the truth is that the last time the CPI won a Lok Sabha election from this constituency on its own strength was way back in 1967. In 1996, its candidate won, but that victory was largely possible because the CPI contested in alliance with Lalu Prasad, then in power.
When Leningrad in Russia has been renamed as St Petersburg and the Left completely decimated in Bengal and Tripura, liberal thinkers would have us believe that there actually exists a town named after Lenin in Bihar!
Reputed writers and columnists, obviously with no idea of Begusarai, went on to expostulate that the CPI candidate got 1.93 lakh votes in 2014 election! That was a fantastic discovery. The truth was that the CPI then contested the election in alliance with Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal (United). Under the formula, the CPI contested fromBegusarai and Banka and JD (U) in the rest of the 38 seats. So the overwhelming 1.93 lakh votes polled were for Nitish Kumar and not the CPI alone.
The CPI and CPM, the two main Communist parties, do not have a single MLA in the Bihar assembly. The CPI (ML) has three. The RJD left one seat, Ara, for it.
In the 2015 Bihar assembly election, in which Nitish, Lalu Prasad’s RJD and the Congress fought jointly, the Left did not find any place in the Grand Alliance.
Even in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Nitish Kumar, who had deserted the BJP a year before and was badly in need of an ally, chose to give only two seats to the CPI. The latter agreed willingly.
In contrast, the CPI, as early as December last year, demanded six seats to be a part of the Grand Alliance. They did so despite knowing that there are five other parties in this coalition.
After the May 23 results, those who voted dedicatedly for Kanhaiya, found themselves cheated when they learnt that the entire Left vote in neighbouring Bengal had shifted to the BJP.
In Begusarai itself, there were many stories of CPI card-holders working whole-heartedly for Kanhaiya, who finally ended up voting for Giriraj. Many of those who shifted their loyalty at the final moment was from Kanhaiya’s own caste, Bhumihars. The huge margin of defeat is only confirmation of this fact.
A premier English daily had during the election campaign, quoted a young supporter of Kanhaiya as saying that they want him to win from Begusarai and prime minister Narendra Modi from rest of the country so that they can witness a good debate in Parliament. What weird logic!
The whole Kanhaiya campaign was self-contradictory. Take the case of the statement of well-known lyricist Javed Akhtar, who went on to ask the voters, especially Muslims of Begusarai, to vote for Giriraj and not RJD’s Tanvir Hasan if they did not want to vote for the CPI candidate.
The strangest part of the Kanhaiya campaign was that none of these liberals deemed it fit to address any public meeting for any Grand Alliance candidate in Bihar, although they always claimed that they were spearheading the campaign against the saffron party.
They did not think it fit to come to Ara were the CPI (ML), also a Left party, was fighting with the support of the grand alliance.
(This article was originally published on The DNA. Read the original article)
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)