In the center of Begusarai, also known as the Leningrad of Bihar, the Communist Party of India workplace wears a abandoned take care of homeboy Kanhaiya Kumar left it for the Congress. It was from right here that he contested his first Lok Sabha election, shedding to BJP’s Giriraj Singh in a broadly watched battle.
“I am joining the Congress because it’s not just a party, it’s an idea. It’s the country’s oldest and most democratic party,” Kumar declared as he entered the grand old party.
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The CPI won’t pretend that it didn’t need Kanhaiya. After all, the former JNU students’ union leader grabbed headlines, drew crowds and energised the CPI’s student wing All India Students Federation (AISF), having been its member himself.
“We wanted him to stay in the party. The party was successful in attracting the youths. He made the party livelier,” stated Rajendra Singh, four-time CPI MLA from Teghra Assembly seat in Begusarai district.
Rakesh Kumar, secretary of AISF Begusarai, agreed. “Though he remained in Delhi and had no connection with Bihar, the CPI made him their favorite. He was also the topmost leader in the AISF. He had a positive effect on the student unit which expanded its reach to 25 districts from 18,” said Kumar.
But cracks had begun to appear in CPI’s relationship with Kanhaiya.
“The party has some strict rules regarding organisation. In the case of Kanhaiya, he didn’t adjust in the party,” Rajendra Singh said.
ALSO READ: Country Needs Congress, Says Kanhaiya Kumar as He Joins Grand Old Party
The incident that laid bare the rift was when a censure motion was passed against Kanhaiya in February this year after the leader’s supporters roughed up office secretary Indu Bhushan over not being informed of a change in the timing of the district council meeting.
The death of CPI’s Bihar secretary Satya Narayan Singh, who succumbed to Covid-19, also reportedly hit the young leader hard and he had trouble warming up to Singh’s successor Ram Naresh Pandey, particularly when the party accepted a smaller share of seats in the Bihar Assembly elections.
The CPI was allotted six seats, whereas ally CPI(ML), regardless of being thought-about a smaller occasion within the state, was allotted 19 seats within the Grand Alliance. This introduced up a long-running grouse Kanhaiya had over the occasion chasing alliances as a substitute of build up the organisation. “The CPI has turn into the ‘Confused Party of India,” he had said in 2018 in Kerala, attacking the leadership for pursuing alliance with the Congress.
Party leaders suggested that Kanhaiya could have contested the Bihar assembly polls last year, but the firebrand leader had made up his mind from the get-go against contesting state polls. The CPI had won two seats in the state last year, both from Begusarai.
According to Rakesh Kumar, Kanhaiya left the CPI to pursue his own political ambitions. “Every person has their own ambition. May be he realised that these ambitions might not be attained by staying in the CPI.”
Kanhaiya’s exit has additionally uncovered a generational hole within the CPI. “We all accept that there is a generation gap in the party. Everybody accepts it. There is an older generation and then there are people of my age,” Rakesh Kumar stated.
This gap was evident during Lok Sabha election campaign when crowds swelled at Kanhaiya Kumar’s speeches, irking party seniors.
Rajendra Singh, however, said what is perceived as generational gap is a healthy mix of young energy and elders’ guidance which keeps the party running. He added that the crowds during the 2019 elections came in the way of CPI’s traditional style of campaigning.
“There were so many people pouring in from the entire country. We could not adjust with the circumstances we were in. We became victim to anarchy. The way we wanted to campaign… we couldn’t do at our organizational level. One of the reasons was that Muslim youths were so actively in the front that some of the Hindus sided away,” he said.
Asked whether he had recently reached out to Kanhaiya, Rajendra Singh said, “We tried reaching out to him. I contacted him time and again, but failed.”
Kanhaiya Kumar remained unavailable to News18’s attempts to reach him for a comment.
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