Tanweer Hassan: 'Begusarai is a fight between RJD and BJP. Kanhaiya and his Communists have no vote value here'
RJD’s Begusarai candidate Tanweer Hassan has not got enough screen space as the controversial Kanhaiya Kumar or the powerful Giriraj Singh. However, Hassan has ensured his voice is also heard.
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Begusarai is at the heart of the Bihar elections, with former JNU leader Kanhaiya Kumar contesting from this constituency.
Even though many say that the fight in Begusarai is between the CPI and BJP’s Giriraj Singh, the one candidate whom everyone is overlooking is RJD’s Tanweer Hassan.
In the last election, Hassan had polled 3,69,892 votes and lost to Bhola Singh of BJP by a margin of 58,335 votes, despite the strong Narendra Modi wave. “In 2014, I lost not with a strong margin — now, this year, I am confident that I will stage an upset and win the elections. This election is truly a fight between RJD and BJP — CPI is nowhere to be found. Giriraj has come to Begusarai for the first time and he will fight elections and go back,” said Hassan.
He will turn up as a strong contender again due to the likely split of upper caste Bhumihar votes between Kanhaiya and Giriraj — and the sizeable number of Muslim-Yadav votes in the constituency.
“The Muslim community has always backed RJD — they are with us. Our vote bank is intact and they will vote for RJD. Minorities have always supported Lalu Prasad Yadav,” added Hassan.
Begusarai's Third Man: Tanweer Hassan has energetically questioned both Kanhaiya and Nitish Kumar. (Source: Facebook)
CPI has fielded fiery Kanhaiya Kumar in Begusarai. Now, to counter students and student leaders from JNU, RJD has also roped in student leaders from JNU to campaign for the party. “CPI had come a distant third in the last elections. In Bihar, the communists don’t have any standing. They don’t have any vote value,” said Hassan.
During a public gathering four days back, the noted lyricist Javed Akhtar had apparently appealed to the people of Begusarai that if they don’t vote for Kanhaiya, then go and vote for BJP. Questioning Javed Akhtar’s vote appeal, Hassan asked, “Is Javed Akhtar having double standards? What type of campaigning is this? He has appealed for both the parties but says, don’t give votes to RJD!" The bewilderment, and the dismissal, are evident in his manner.
Kanhaiya Kumar has certainly brought in a lot of crowds during his campaign. “All the people who had come during his meetings were outsiders though; none of them were from Begusarai. You haven’t seen the crowds that gathered for our rally — it was much more than his,” says Hassan. The veteran politician also added that Nitish’s governance is the worst on all fronts and he had failed on every front.
Whether this cuts much ice in the heated election of Begusarai remains to be seen. What is interesting though is that in the face-off between Kanhaiya Kumar and Giriraj Singh, the voice of the third man — Tanweer Hassan — is not lost.