Three Left parties, contesting the 2020 Bihar assembly elections in alliance with the RJD and the Congress, claim the Bihar poll results will have an impact on the outcome of elections in four states (and one union territory) going to polls next year, namely — Kerala, West Bengal, Assam, and Puducherry.
The three Left parties have already fielded their candidates in 29 constituencies.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader D Raja and Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M)’s Sitaram Yechuri, who are campaigning jointly in Bihar along with Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML) chief Dipankar Bhattacharya, have claimed that the ‘Left unity’ in Bihar has given credence to the Grand Alliance (Mahagathbandhan) led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
If the Bihar experiment succeeds, it will be attempted at the national level as well. The Bihar results will have a direct effect on national politics, they hoped.
The Left leaders said that for the first time, their agenda of employment, loan waiver to farmers, and problems of migrant workers also became the main agenda in the electioneering as well. Now, both the Grand Alliance and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) are explaining their future stand on the two issues by promising 10-19 lakh jobs.
The Leftists allege there is an ongoing attempt to divert the attention of the people from basic issues with the use of violence during the immersion of the Durga idol at Munger, which was a routine annual affair. But, just on the eve of the assembly elections in Munger on October 28, an attempt was made by the local administration to give the conflict a communal colour by claiming ‘anti-social elements’, and not the police, had resorted to firing on the devotees.
Former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU) and CPI Politburo member Kanhaiya Kumar is actively campaigning in North Bihar constituencies, drawing huge crowds of youths. He is focussing on the problems of unemployment and the issues that the migrating workers faced during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
CPI-ML, which is contesting 19 seats, has a grass-root presence in places like Bhojpur, Jahananabd, Arwal, Siwan, and Katihar districts. These areas were the worst-affected in terms of left-wing extremist violence and caste-based clashes.
During the 2015 elections, three candidates of CPI(ML) were successful. The party has a strong cadre of workers among the extremely backwards and scheduled castes in central Bihar districts.
Another ex-JNUSU president and CPI-ML leader, Chandrashekhar Prasad (popularly known as Chandu), who was gunned down in 1997 by sharpshooters allegedly in the employ of the once-dreaded outlaw, Mohammad Shahabuddin, was from Siwan. Kanhaiya, an upper-caste Bhumihar, is from Begusarai.
The CPI(ML) has fielded candidates in two urban constituencies of the state capital Patna as well. The party’s candidates in Digha and Phulwari Sharif are giving a tough fight to the NDA candidates.
The CPI is contesting on six seats and CPI(M) on four seats.