Prof Manoj Jha, RJD's Rajya Sabha MP, spoke to Puneet Nicholas Yadav on why the mahagathbandhan refused to back Kanhaiya Kumar in Begusarai. Excerpts...
Couldn’t you have been more generous towards Kanhaiya?
When you ask me a question wrapped in the cult of an individual, I think it is a replication of the Modi model. It’s a personality cult and I am surprised how the Left has fallen for it. People expected us to give up Begusarai. Tanveer had 4 lakh votes in 2014. Our cadre across all assembly constituencies was very keen that Tanveer must fight. We have five MLAs (in Begusarai). What did they (the Left) expect? That we should kill the idea of what our support base wants in Begusarai? The CPI is a party of two panchayats in an assembly constituency in Begusarai. The CPM doesn’t exist anywhere.
Was Kanhaiya denied a ticket because Lalu Prasad did not want a challenge to Tejashwi’s leadership?
Tejashwi is running a political party and is the leader of 81 MLAs. The Left should see who is getting votes. I used to believe that rumour-mongering is the preserve of right-wing politics, but the Left is spreading rumours that Tanveer has conceded, giving full-page ads across all newspapers two days before polling. Who is paying all this money?