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Are Left Parties Poised to Win Lok Sabha Polls After Nearly 25 Years in Bihar?

With strong pockets of influence, the Left parties – CPI(ML), CPI(M) and CPI— are contesting 5 seats as part of the INDIA bloc
Left parties

Representation image (Credit: Kerala Kaumudi)

Patna: The Left parties, major allies of Bihar's Mahagathbandhan, a part of the Opposition’s Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), are confident of winning one or two seats in the 2upcoming 024 Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. If this happens, it will break the nearly 25-year-old jinx that the Left parties have been facing in winning Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.

Leaders and workers of the Left parties have been campaigning on the ground since the past one month with the sole aim of defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance this time.

It was in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls when Communist Party of India (Marxist) candidate Subodh Rai won from the Bhagalpur seat, the last Left party candidate to have been in the Lok Sabha from Bihar. After that, the Left parties contested unsuccessfully in the 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019 polls.

This time, the Left parties, including the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPI(ML), CPI(M) and Communist Party of India (CPI), are jointly contesting the Lok Sabha polls as part of the Opposition INDIA bloc, in contrast to the 2019 and 2014 elections.

"We are sure that Left parties will win some seats this time. People are unhappy and angry over unemployment, price rise, growing disparity and an undeclared emergency in the country,” CPI(M) state secretary Lalan Choudhary told NewsClick.

The Left parties are contesting five of 40 seats in Bihar after the Mahagathbandhan finalised its seat sharing formula on March 29,2024. The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) is contesting 26 seats and Congress nine seats.

The CPI(ML) is recognised as a potent political force with 11 MLAs in the Assembly and a significant support base across various districts, especially in rural areas. The party had demanded five seats. CPI(M), with two MLAs, had requested four seats, and CPI, with two MLAs, sought three seats.

Among the Left parties, the CPI(ML)is contesting from three seats -- Arrah, Karakat and Nalanda. CPI is contesting from Begusarai, the party’s traditional stronghold and CPI(M) from Khagaria.

The CPI(ML)has fielded Sudama Prasad to contest from Arrah parliamentary constituency. He is a party MLA from Tarari Assembly seat in Bhojpur district. Prasad is contesting against BJP candidate and Union Minister R K Singh, an IAS-turned-politician.

In the 2019 elections, Singh won the seat and defeated his nearest rival from CPI(ML).

The CPI(ML) has fielded former party MLA Raja Ram Singh from Karakat parliamentary constituency, who is contesting against former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha, who is the head of Rashtriya Lok Morcha, an ally of NDA.

CPI(ML) has given a ticket to its young leader and first time MLA Sandeep Saurav from Nalanda parliamentary constituency, which is the home district of Janata Dal-United president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. JD-U has been winning this seat since the late 1990s.

The CPI has fielded former party MLA Awadhesh Rai from Begusarai. He is contesting against BJP candidate and Union Minister Giriraj Singh.

In the previous polls, CPI fielded Kanhaiya Kumar, former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president, who is now a vocal Congress leader. Kumar unsuccessfully contested from Begusarai.

Exactly five years ago, Kanhaiya, then a firebrand CPI youth leader, had attracted a lot of attention across the country when he contested against Union Minister Giriraj Singh, a champion of Hindutva politics.

The CPI(M) has fielded Sanjay Kumar from Khagaria parliamentary constituency.

Left party leaders argue that traditionally, the Left had a sizeable presence in Bihar, with the CPI as a dominant political force. Even now, the Left has certain pockets of strongholds and social support bases that are quite visible during protests and rallies.

Political watchers here said that Left parties collectively have a strong support base in at least a dozen Lok Sabha seats, where they can influence the poll outcome. They also pointed out the significance of Left parties in shaping the balance in favour of or against any candidate in some seats.

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