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Modi govt’s handling of Chandrashekhar Azad & Kanhaiya Kumar shows who is the bigger threat

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The pan-India movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens has been described as leaderless by many. However, there are many faces on the ground and online who are grabbing India’s attention. Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad and former JNUSU president and Communist Party of India politician Kanhaiya Kumar are two such leaders in the limelight.

But there are key differences between the two leaders. And it is visible in the way the Indian state has responded to them.

A recent Reuters report claimed that Kanhaiya Kumar has emerged as a “major irritant and political challenge to Modi” during the protests. Quoting an unnamed aide to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the report said: “Kumar’s appeal to young and first-time voters has worried Modi.”

There is no doubt that Kanhaiya Kumar is drawing the crowds. People are listening to him and forwarding snippets of his speeches on WhatsApp. Even Deepika Padukone was standing behind him when he was addressing students at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Kanhaiya Kumar is a good orator and his speeches resonate with the masses. But is he the leader who can challenge the demagogy of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah? Unlikely.

The problem with Kanhaiya Kumar is that he is not adding anyone new to the anti-Modi camp. He is just creating an echo chamber of anti-Modi forces, especially among the Muslims. Kanhaiya says........

© ThePrint