Locked in a fierce battle for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Begusarai, former president of the JNU Students Union and CPI candidate Kanhaiya Kumar has taken on Union minister Giriraj Singh. In a chat with Rajesh Kumar Thakur, Kumar talked about his principles and politics. Excerpts:
How do you define nationalism?
Nationalism is not the way the BJP or PM Narendra Modi define it. Real nationalism is studying how we can give bread to the hungry, give jobs to unemployed citizens and youths; How we can give equality to all, irrespective of their caste and creed? It also means making no false promises just for the sake of electoral benefits. Nationalism is about a country free of hunger, debt, poverty, insecurity, injustice, animosity — racial or religious — and discrimination. These should not be exploited like a political jingle as the BJP is doing.
How do you view the 2019 election?
It is not a simple election but a kind of electoral revolution taking place for the people and by the people. Propaganda-based politics will be finished, while politics aimed at serving the people, liberating them from poverty, will get rooted in society.
The 2019 LS elections will change the political spectrum through an awakening and provide a way for voices of the downtrodden people of the country to be heard and chase out politics based on hatred.
The people, hitherto neglected have awakened and will not stop until they get their natural rights.
Will nationalism produce a miracle result for the NDA, as it is hoping for?
In the world, nobody, not even political parties have succeeded simply by invoking nationalist sentiment only. Nationalism is the essence of Indian culture and history.
It has, however, not subsumed the power of 125 crores of citizens. Such an attempt to make it an issue only for electoral purpose cannot succeed.
The people are clamouring for change after being brutally misled by their misplaced trust in the Narendra Modi-led NDA. They want an account of the NDA’s promises, jobs and the continuing farm distress.
The BJP does not want to discuss these and hence has this false drama on nationalism. But, it’s not working. The aspirations of the poor cannot be blocked. We will not allow the cultural, secular and national integration of the country to be ruined.
The jumlas and slogans will make no impact and the country is all set for the start of a new kind of development-oriented nationalist politics.
Why should you be elected by the people?
To save the nation, to save the Constitution and to save the fundamental rights of poor people, who have so far been exploited and cornered by the caucuses of well-off families with the support of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA).
I have a natural urge and feeling to take the voice of people to the floor of Parliament. I don’t indulge in politics of division and hatred but am grounded in politics of principle and people’s concern.
What is your message for the people of your constituency in particular when your rivals are branding you as wrong?
The people of Begusarai are very nationalistic, brave, principled and very practical when it comes to politics. They are fully alert and understand the hidden intent of some parties, who make false promises and coin fake slogans.
Sloganeering may be their way of politics. Ours is about service to the people. The people will ignore leaders who lie and look to subterfuge to win elections.
The people of Begusarai will not let the politics of propaganda continue from their soil of literature and love for humanity.
You were jailed in a case of sedition. What is the reality?
It was as false as the promises of NDA leaders made during the 2014 election. I love my country more than them. It was a false case in which I was implicated and now the people have realised the truth.