In the ongoing Jharkhand state elections, Left parties are supporting each other and have intensified their fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, in some constituencies, the state will witness friendly fight among Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) or CPI-ML, Marxist Coordination Committee (MCC) and Communist Party of India or CPI.
On Saturday, the first phase of elections were held in 13 constituencies where presence of Communist Party of India (Maoist) is considerably high in the state. The elections in the remaining 68 constituencies (of total 81 constituencies) will be held in the next four phases and the results will be declared on December 23.
While CPI(M) is set to contest in nine constituencies, CPI(M-L) in 15 constituencies, CPI in 23 constituencies and Marxist Coordination Committee will be fighting for 10 seats.
There is an anti-BJP wave across districts in the state, says Janardhan Prasad, CPI(ML) state secretary. Speaking to NewsClick, Janardhan explained that all the Left parties have intensified the campaign in their stronghold constituencies. “People in the state could witness the BJP’s anti-poor and pro-corporate policies and are highly dissatisfied by the BJP regime in the last five years.”
He added that the Left parties have strongholds in numerous pockets in the state and are fielding candidates accordingly after taking consensus among themselves. “In the constituencies where Left parties have not fielded candidates, our cadres will support the Gathbandhan [alliance of Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)],” Janardhan told NewsClick.
Among other parties in the race are Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM), All Jharkhand Students' Union Party (AJSUP) and Janata Dal (United) [JD-U].
While BJP is contesting in 81 constituencies, Congress is contesting in 31, RJD will contest on seven seats and JMM in 43 seats—as part of the Gathbandhan. JMM’s Hemant Soren has been declared to be the chief minister candidate of the Gathbandhan.
The Left parties’ campaign is promising protection for all workers, farmers and tribals in the state. While pointing out instances where the BJP has unleashed attack on the rights of the tribes, they argue that the BJP has ignored food security completely in the state which has become the key issue in the polls. They allege that the BJP has allowed corporates to ‘loot’ Jal (water), Jangal (forests), Jameen (land), minerals and other valuable public resources from the state.
The political opportunism is quite visible in these elections, says, Prakash Biplab of CPI(M) state secretariat. “At Least 70 politicians have shifted sides from saffron parties to secular parties or vice versa, in anticipation of tickets to contest. Such is the opportunism, but the people are watching them,” Biplab told NewsClick. He added that the BJP can no longer mislead the people with fake promises as people are aware of their issues.
CPI(M) has released its manifesto highlighting 18 issues in the state. These include ensuring rights of tribes under the fifth schedule and other laws, proper implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006, Land Acquisition Act, 2013, ensuring food security, healthcare and minimum support price for both agricultural and forest produce among others.