Begusarai: CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar on Monday exuded confidence he will come up trumps in his much-talked about electoral debut against nominees of the mightier BJP and the RJD, asserting that people of Begusarai would vote from "dil" (hearts) and not go by dal (party).
Waiting for his turn to cast his vote at a polling station inside a government secondary school that he had attended, the former JNU students' union president said he was excited to be at his alma mater in a new role.
The 32-year-old, who shot to fame three years ago when he was booked in a sedition case lodged in Delhi, is engaged in a three-cornered contest with Union minister and BJP leader Giriraj Singh and RJD veteran Tanveer Hassan. "In Begusarai, voting will be dil se, not dal se I have received enormous support from the people of the constituency The ruling dispensation here stands for the rich and powerful, while I stand for the common citizenry, of which I am also a part," the Left debutant said.
Dismissing allegations from his rivals that he represented a "B Team" working to help a more formidable candidate, Kumar quipped, "There is an old Bollywood number - kuchh to log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna. People may say all sorts of things. All rumours will be put paid to when the results are out".
Meanwhile, RJD candidate Hassan - who had finished a runner-up five years ago - lashed out at the CPI nominee and his supporters for carrying out a "false campaign" that he has issued a last-minute appeal to support Kanhaiya.
Taking to Twitter, the RJD candidate debunked statements put out by many Left supporters in this regard and asserted that he was in the fray as a "serious contender". RJD supremo Lalu Prasad is said to have initially been in favor of supporting Kumar but decided otherwise at the instance of his younger son and political heir Tejashwi Yadav.
Last week, CPI general secretary Sudhakar Reddy had appealed to Yadav to ask Hassan to "retire" from the contest and help the Left candidate win with an emphatic margin. The request was, however, rebuffed by RJD national vice-president Shivanand Tiwary, who challenged the Left party to do likewise "in the common interest of fighting the BJP".
Keep yourself updated on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 with our round-the-clock coverage -- breaking news, updates, analyses et all. Happy reading....