Bihar CM Nitish Kumar and former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar. (Image credit: Edited from Twitter handle of both the leaders)

Kanhaiya’s meeting with JD-U leader exposes political compulsions of both

Months after being elevated to the Communist Party of India’s top decision-making body, i. e., National Executive Council, former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar’s meeting with Janata Dal United leader and senior minister in the Nitish Kumar cabinet Ashok Chaudhary on Sunday at his residence in Patna has triggered speculations about his joining JDU. 

Though both sides are rejecting such talks yet if the background of this event is closely analysed the speculation cannot be outrightly termed as baseless.

First, just a fortnight back National Executive Council of CPI held in Hyderabad passed a censure motion against Kanhaiya Kumar for alleged violence by his supporters at party office in Patna early December last year. Kanhaiya was accused of manhandling a senior leader. However, he had denied all these charges.  

In fact, there was a strong view within CPI that any action against a leader who hoped to revive the fortune of the party may send a wrong signal. However, the motion was reportedly passed with an overwhelming majority–107 votes out of total 110. This suggests that the party gave priority to the discipline and didn’t budge under any pressure.

According to a political observer who wished anonymity, “Kanhaiya is not a product of any ideology, movement or struggle rather he is a product of an event. Irrespective of his crowd-pulling ability he will have to go a long way to emerge as a mass leader and earn the respect of his competitor within the party. He came to Bihar to fight the last Lok Sabha election from his home parliamentary seat Begusarai and failed to convert the fanfare into votes. Then he led an anti-CAA state-wide march, “Jan Gan Man Yatra”. Apart from that he remained aloof from state politics.”

Nitish-Kanhaiya bonhomie 

During anti CAA state-wide march Kanhaiya Kumar’s procession was stopped by the district administration at Bhitharwa Gandhi Ashram in Bettiah of West Champaran. According to reports, Nitish Kumar was watching the news on Television. He personally intervened and instructed the concerned authority to allow the ‘YATRA’. After the incident Kanhaiya thanked Nitish Kumar.

The Bihar Chief Minister strongly backed Kanhaiya when the latter was slapped with sedition charges. He had termed him as a talented student who hailed from Bihar. Reciprocating the gesture, Kanhaiya always avoids directly attacking Nitish. The student leader even admires the Bihar CM for the good work he pursued after coming to the helm of Bihar.

The most crucial question is the timing of the meeting. When Ashok Chaudhry is on a mission to increase the bargaining position of the JDU by drawing resources from other parties, there would be very little scope of any “innocuous meeting” with him. However, in a release issued on Tuesday CPI National Council insisted that the speculation is baseless.

Commenting on this development veteran social activist Satyanarayan Madan said, “whatever the motive of the meeting is, one thing is clear, that Kanhaiya Kumar wants to keep an option open for his future politics.”

Independent analysts are of the view that today the CPI may be upset over Kanhaiya’s move but it is also a fact that the Janata Dal United and CPI had jointly contested the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Many CPI leaders had a very good relationship with Nitish too. Janata Dal-United spokesmen like Neeraj Kumar too was formerly with AISF—the organisation with which Kanhaiya was associated.

Kanhaiya was reportedly not in favour of alliance with RJD in the last year Assembly election. All the three Left parties, CPI-ML, CPI and CPM are, along with RJD and Congress, the constituents of Grand Alliance.

“As Kanhaiya is finding himself left high and dry and Janata Dal-United badly in need of ‘secular’ friends to expand itself and thus in the process counterbalance the BJP one cannot rule out the former’s entry into the party,” said a Bihar watcher while talking to TheNewsWeb.

(Shams Khan is contributing editor at TheNewsWeb. The views expressed are personal)

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