Left parties to join forces with Opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar
The Left parties have decided to join forces with the Opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar to counter the ruling NDA in the upcoming Assembly elections.
The decision came after meetings with Lalu Prasad’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which leads the Grand Alliance. The Congress, the Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) are its other constituents. The development comes on the heels of former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular (HAMS) quitting the alliance.
Leaders of the three main Left parties — the CPI, the CPM and the CPI-ML — said that the decision was taken after they felt the necessity to check the division of secular votes in the bid to defeat the BJP and its allies — chief minister Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal United (JDU) and Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) — in the state.
“The CPI and the CPM leaders met RJD state president Jagdanand Singh on Wednesday for around two hours to discuss the modalities of a broad-based alliance to overthrow the NDA government in Bihar. The differences among the parties in the past have weakened the fight against the BJP and its allies,” CPI state secretary Ram Naresh Pandey told The Telegraph.
Pandey pointed out that an “in principle” agreement has been reached that the Left will be with the Grand Alliance on all 243 Assembly seats in the state. He also said the CPI and the RJD had contested the polls together in 1995 in which the former had won 26 out of the 55 seats it had fought on.
Pandey said the aim was to “bring all secular powers together” to defeat the communal forces. He added that the RJD has assured the Left of a honourable seat-sharing arrangement.
Apart from the CPI, the CPM and the CPI-ML, All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) and Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) are the other Left parties active in the state.
All the six Left parties contested the 2015 Assembly elections in a bid to provide a third option to voters away from the Grand Alliance and the NDA, but were rejected. They could muster only around 3.5 per cent votes in the state, and only the CPI-ML managed to win three seats.
However, it is also a known fact that the Left parties have an extensive presence across Bihar and have the ability to influence results on at least 50 seats.
The CPI-ML has held a few meetings with the RJD and its state secretary Kunal said that their essence was to contest the polls together to defeat the NDA.
“There should be an honourable seat-sharing deal if the alliance or the agreement has to work out smoothly. The Left parties are ready to put their entire strength to defeat the communal forces endangering our country, state and the Constitution,” Kunal told this newspaper.
Meanwhile, RJD spokesperson Mritunjay Tiwary said leader of the Opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav has authorised Jagadanand Singh to proceed with the talks with the Left parties to take them on board.