By winning 16 seats, the Left has made a comeback in Bihar politics
The CPI (ML), which has a committed cadre on the ground, says that it might have won more seats if some of the underperforming Congress seats had been given to the Left party.
One of the notable stories of the Bihar election which has been pushed to the margins of the post-result narrative is the admirable performance of the three Left parties that were contesting the polls as allies of the RJD and Congress in the mahagathbandhan.
The three parties — Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or CPI (ML) — won 16 of the 29 seats they contested, an impressive strike rate of more than 55 per cent.
To put this in context, the Congress, the main ally of the RJD, won just two more seats than the combined Left tally — and that too at a poor strike rate of 27 per cent.
What makes the Left’s performance even more impressive is the gains it has made from the 2015 Assembly election when it won just three seats – all of them bagged by the CPI (ML). In the 2010 Assembly election, the CPI won a solitary seat while the other two Left parties did not open their accounts.
In fact, this year’s performance is the best showing by the Left in Bihar since the 1995 assembly elections, which was the last time the CPI put in a stupendous performance, winning 26 seats. The CPI’s seat tally fell to five in the 2000 election, and the party has not really recovered since then.
The resurgence of the CPI (ML)
Of the three Left parties that matter in Bihar, it is the CPI (ML), an outfit that was linked to the Naxal movement till the 1980s, which has stolen the show in the 2020 election, winning 12 seats, while the CPI and the CPI(M) bagged two each.
A big change for the CPI (ML) this time around was that it concentrated its campaign on seats where it genuinely felt it had a real chance of winning unlike in earlier elections when it would contest up to 100 seats.
This was done in consultation with the RJD after both parties realised that an informal tie-up in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls helped their respective candidates win more than 4 lakh votes in four constituencies.
The CPI (ML), which has a very committed cadre on the ground, believes that it might have won more seats in the 2020 elections if some of the underperforming Congress seats had been given to it.
Nevertheless, the Left has reasons to be pleased with its resurgence in a state where it has historically given a voice to Dalits and fought against the upper caste feudal structure of rural society in places like Bhojpur. Though the brutal violence of the 1990s may now be a thing of the past in Bihar, more insidious forms of oppression continue. But Dalits are also politically more conscious now, with several parties wooing them for their votes. There are several Dalit sub-castes, and the Scheduled Caste vote is not a monolith.
This time, the CPI (ML) appears to have successfully campaigned in its strongholds on traditional Left-oriented issues while tapping into its long-standing Dalit support. Most of the CPI (ML) MLAs are activists with deep ties with movements for social justice in the local community.
It needs to be seen if the party will be able to consolidate the gains it has made in this election and expand its presence in the state.
Courtesy : Timesnownews