Kanhaiya Kumar
Kanhaiya KumarIANS

One constituency of Bihar that drew the attention of the entire national media was Begusarai. Dubbed the 'Leningrad of Bihar' by some, this constituency saw Kanhaiya Kumar, former president of Jawahar Lal Nehru University Student's Union, being fielded by a coalition of left parties against Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP's) Giriraj Singh.

Many expected the former student leader to lose on account of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) fielding its own candidate, Mohammad Tanweer Hassan, despite earlier giving signs of supporting Kanhaiya's candidature. It was believed that Hassan would cut into the votes of Kanhaiya and ease the path of the BJP leader.

However, if one were to look at the number of votes polled, it is clear that Giriraj Singh may have easily won even with a coalition of all major opponents of BJP. When reports last came in, he was winning more than 53% votes. Needless to say, even with the support of RJD, Kanhaiya would not have troubled Giriraj too much.

In this direct test of his electoral strength, Kanhaiya managed to win more than a lakh votes. But even in 2014, Communist Party of India (CPI) candidate got nearly two lakh votes. This seat had been held by NDA since 2004, by JDU till 2014 and BJP afterwards.

Mohammad Tanweer Hassan had come second in the last elections with over three-and-a-half lakh votes. But with the support of JDU behind him, Giriraj Singh was likely to cross the line without much difficulty. The presence of the RJD candidate only made matters worse for Kanhaiya in a seat with a substantial Muslim population.