PATNA/NEW DELHI: The Rashtriya Janata Dal candidate from Begusarai Tanweer Hasan dismissed the contest from the CPI’s Lok Sabha candidate Kanhaiya Kumar claiming that the real fight was between him and the BJP’s Giriraj Singh.

“Anyone who understands politics should have no problems in understanding that contest is between me and Giriraj now and I am sure of defeating the BJP leader by a huge margin,” Hasan told The Citizen.

The Communist Party of India on Sunday officially declared youth leader Kanhaiya Kumar’s candidature from Begusarai in Bihar. The announcement was made at a press conference in Patna attended by senior CPI leaders from the state with Kumar sitting alongside. Addressing the media, the former JNU student leader said that his fight was not with Hasan, but directly against the BJP and Giriraj Singh.

Hasan justified the RJD’s decision not to support Kanhaiya Kumar from Begusarai maintaining that the strongest party in a coalition usually gets to contest the particular seat. “I was the one who lost the last election by a margin of few thousand votes amid the Modi wave of 2014. CPI was third in the run here. By any logic today I am more popular and grounded than Kanhaiya Kumar in the region and there was no reason for our party to give up on its winning seat,” Hasan said.

He claimed that Kumar was playing the Bhumiyar card in the district where there is a significant population of this community. He said that Kumar was claiming this seat as he wanted to tap into this upper caste vote.

“Why was it that he wanted only to contest in Begusarai where the RJD has performed extremely well in the past? If Kanhaiya is a national leader of such stature his party should have asked for a seat where the BJP was considerably strong so that he could reduce their tally in the Lok Sabha,” Hasan said, reflecting the bitterness that marks relations between opposition parties on the same side of the fence.

Commenting on the shrinking of space for Muslims in Parliament, Hasan said that anyone who talks of secularism should not cause a further dent in these figures of Muslim representation in the legislatures.

“It has become a trend to ask only minority faces in political parties to compromise, in order to accommodate parachuted leaders. This is not good for the idea of secularism. The representation of minorities in elected bodies is imperative in a democracy, and if a minority candidate is in a wining position in any seat, be it Begusarai, secular outfits should support him or her rather than parachuting in someone else,“ Hasan argued.

According to another RJD insider who chose to speak anonymously there were precisely two reasons why the party did not extend support to Kanhaiya. The first being Kanhaiya Kumar’s growing stature as a national leader, and the other that RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav was made to believe that dropping a winnable Muslim candidate from the party wouldn’t be a good idea.

However, JNU students who are now with the RJD believe that their old student leader does not enough experience in national politics, which, they insist, is very different from university politics. There is little recognition in this section of Kumar’s growing popularity across states, and of his oratory and leadership skills.

Meeran Haider, now president of the RJD's Youth Wing in Delhi, having worked with Kumar told The Citizen, “Kanhaiya should first work on the ground for some years, win assembly elections and then think of a Lok Sabha seat. We have nothing against Kanhaiya but respect our party's decision.”

Sources had told The Citizen earlier that much of the opposition to Kumar's candidature was coming from his old student colleagues.