He is a debutant and has been fielded by a party that is not part of Bihar’s grand alliance but Kanhaiya Kumar is still one of the talked-about candidates these elections. The former JNU students’ union president, who hit the headlines over the ‘azadi’ slogan controversy on the premier university campus after which he was booked in a sedition case and described as “anti-national”, told Piyush Tripathi while campaigning in rural Begusarai that he was contesting the elections for the honour of those who had been dubbed as “anti-nationals” just as he had been. Excerpts: Why did you decide to contest polls?For the people. They have been insulted. It’s not me alone who has been called anti-national, an entire district in Bihar was called so. I am fighting for the honour of everyone from Bihar as they have been called ‘Deshdrohi Bihari’. You are being projected as a face of dissent against the Narendra Modi government. Do you feel the pressure?Why should I be under pressure? He is the Prime Minister, he should feel the pressure. Besides, I am not the sitting MP that I should feel the pressure of losing my seat. I have nothing to lose. Don’t you think by pointing at a particular person, you are being negative?You tell me, what was the need for this? I was a student and there was no need to protest against the government. But I had to do it because the government was not doing its work. When somebody raises his voice in dissent, he is labelled anti-national. The country does not belong to them. The country is not their personal property. There is no negativity in me. Saying that the PM is lying is not a personal attack, it is a question. How do find rate your chances in the election?In the fight between Tom and Jerry, Jerry always wins. Tom might be strong but he is still a ‘billa’ (cat). Why couldn’t CPI or you convince RJD chief Lalu Prasad to make you a grand alliance candidate?If we had met Lalu ji, we could have held talks on this. What do you think of (RJD leader and Lalu Prasad’s son) Tejashwi’s decision to field an RJD veteran from this constituency?It is obvious he will field his candidate, since he is running the party. I think Tejashwi is a good leader. He hasn’t done anything as of now for which I can call him a bad leader. How do you rate Nitish Kumar as CM?He has introduced several good policies for Bihar and in many areas he has fulfilled people’s expectations. In many other areas, he has not been able to live up to the expectations but that’s true for everyone. Have you thought about your plans if elected?I will solve basic problems, migration being the most important one. Why would the youth of Bihar go to Delhi to prepare for UPSC and Kota for the engineering entrance examination when teachers over there are also Biharis? Making sense of 2019 #ElectionswithtimesView Full Coverage