New Delhi: The Left parties — CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, CPI (Marxist) and CPI — have shown a very good strike rate in the Bihar assembly elections, signaling a resurgence of the Left in the state.
As of 5 pm Tuesday, the CPI(ML) Liberation was leading in 12 of the 19 seats it contested, the CPI(M) in 3 of the 4 seats, and the CPI in 3 of the 6 seats.
The three Left parties are as a whole leading in 18 out of the 29 seats, and if these leads translate into victories, it would be an important contribution to the RJD-led Mahagathbandhan’s seat share. While the CPI and CPI(M) have allied with the RJD in the past elections, this was the first time the CPI(ML) Liberation joined hands with the RJD.
Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the CPI(M), told ThePrint: “The Left is very clear today that it is essential to keep the BJP out of power, to keep them away from controlling state power to destroy the Constitution. And this is why allying with the RJD was important.”
While the Left does enjoy cadre-based support in various pockets of Bihar, the CPI(ML) Liberation had won just three of the 98 seats it contested in the 2015 assembly elections. The CPI and CPI(M) had failed to open their accounts. The three parties had contested as a joint alliance — separate from the NDA and the Grand Alliance.
This election marks a steep rise for the Left in a state where their appeal has lately remained confined to limited pockets.
Unemployment, migrant crisis helped as issues
The Left leaders believe the parties were able to make a significant improvement from the previous elections in Bihar due to issues like the migrant crisis and unemployment.
“The Left had always argued that social justice cannot be realised without economic justice. The two have to be combined and they are integral. And the main issues this time were unemployment and the migrant crisis, so the people understood our vision,” Yechury said.
CPI national secretary D. Raja said the Left was “always a force to reckon with in Bihar”.
“But this time, we were able to project the livelihood issues of the people and challenge the threats posed by the BJP-RSS. People recognised our truth,” Raja said.
Raja added the CPI and CPI(M) had allied with RJD multiple times during Lalu Prasad Yadav’s regime. The two parties had supported the RJD in the 1990 and 1995 assembly elections, which resulted in Yadav’s election to the CM post.
“We used to have electoral adjustments with Lalu ji. This time, I myself made sure an adjustment is reached and we come together with the Mahagathbandhan for a reasonable alliance, keeping in mind the primary objective of defeating the BJP,” he added.