Pulling back the years, the Left parties, which fared poorly in the 2015 elections, are leading in 17 of the 29 seats they contested in the Bihar polls as per latest Election Commission data. Even though the NDA maintained an edge over the RJD-led Grand Alliance as per latest trends, the Left parties look set for a resurgence.
The CPI(ML) has won in five seats and is leading in eight while the CPI and CPI-M have secured victory in one seat each. CPI and CPI-M are leading in two and one seat respectively. Of the 29 constituencies handed to the Left parties in the state elections this year, the CPI (M-L) contested on 19 seats, and the CPI and CPM on six and four seats respectively.
The Left parties, which are fighting the polls in an alliance with the RJD and the Congress, have fielded candidates from Agiaon, Arrah, Arwal, Balrampur, Bibhutipur, Darauli, Daraundha, Dumraon, Ghosi, Karakat, Manjhi, Matihani, Paliganj, Tarari, Ziradei, Bachhwara, Bakhri, among other places. Follow Bihar Election Results 2020 LIVE Updates
On three of these, Bhorey, Arrah and Daraundha, the CPIML has written to the Election Commission demanding a recount, “due to dubious counting practices”.
Speaking on the impressive performance by the Left parties, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said said the Left played an important role in shaping the agenda of the elections.
“It was refreshing to see people shape the agenda with employment, education, basic issues. That kind of an environment helps the Left… All through the lockdown we were active, stood by the people. And the so-called double-engine government (if the NDA was in power at the state and in the Centre), people found both the engines were driverless (at the time)… Our comrades reached out with rations, we did relief work in flood-affected areas. I think this role of the Left during the lockdown helped us,” Bhattacharya told The Indian Express.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said had the Left been given more seats, they would have posted more wins. “This election result has shown that no one can write off the Left and those doubting the relevance of the Left parties should think of what our strike rate has been in Bihar. No one has that strike rate. The Left is a necessity for Indian democracy,” Yechury said.
The Left, once a major political force in Bihar, was reduced to the margins in the last two Assembly elections. In 2010, only CPI managed to win a seat while in 2015, CPI(ML) grabbed three seats as the other two Left parties drew blank.
Besides mutual conversion of votes with the RJD and Congress, the Left parties seem to have brought two more crucial elements to the Grand Alliance — all three are cadre-based parties, which helped increase the Mahagathbandhan’s reach, and their allegiance is not doubtful because ideologically they are on the other end of the spectrum from the BJP.
The exit polls had also predicted gains for the Left, especially CPI(ML), given that the message of economic justice given by RJD-led Mahagathbandhan was aggressively promoted by their cadre. The India Today-Axis exit poll had predicted the CPI(ML) could win 12-16 seats out of the 19 it contested.
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