Indian student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar
Kanhaiya Kumar (C) addresses students and activists at Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on March 3, 2016. ICHANDAN KHANNA/AFP/Getty Images

One of the many interesting battles that were fought in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections was between young CPI politician and former JNU president Kanhaiya Kumar and BJP veteran Giriraj Singh from the Begusarai constituency in Bihar. Despite Kanhaiya campaigning vividly in his hometown with the help of may left-leaning celebrities of Bollywood, including Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Swara Bhasker and Prakash Raj, Kanhaiya was heavily trailing behind Singh with a margin of over 1 lakh votes as of 12.30 pm.

Begusarai was a keenly watched Lok Sabha constituency especially when Singh had earlier opposed BJP's directions on contesting from there. Both Singh and Kanhaiya belong to the upper caste Hindu community from the area. Singh was expected to garner all the votes of Bhumiar community.

The constituency, with a population of 4.5 lakh voters, got further divided especially when the Rashtriya Lok Dal party headed by Tejaswi Yadav refused to join hands with Kanhaiya and instead fielded a Muslim candidate, Tanveer Hassan. It further divided the vote share and easily took away the Muslim vote back from Kanhaiya.

Giriraj Singh
BJP leader Giriraj Singh.IANS file

Both Kanhaiya and Singh represented the extreme left and right ideologies. While Singh is notorious for making statements of sending anti-national people to Pakistan, Kanhaiya was earlier charged with sedition during the JNU campus protests a few years ago.

Nevertheless, despite Kanhaiya's oratory skills, crowdfunding campaign and star backing, he could not win from Begusarai although he may have built a strong foundation for CPI among the young voters.