Left unifies, keeps tie-up doors open

Dipankar Bhattacharya

Patna: Prominent Left parties in Bihar - CPI, CPI-ML (Liberation) and CPM - have reached an understanding to contest the 2019 Lok Sabha polls together as one bloc, and are also looking towards forging alliances or agreements with non-NDA (National Democratic Alliance) parties to counter the BJP. However, seat-sharing could be a problem if any broad-based alliance happens.

"There have been talks with the CPI and the CPM about unity. In principle, the Left has reached an understanding to contest the Lok Sabha polls as a united bloc in Bihar. Earlier, we had contested the 2015 Assembly elections together," CPI-ML (Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya told The Telegraph.

Bhattacharya, who is in Patna to attend various party-related programmes, including a Lok Sabha constituency-level programme at Karakat on July 9, added that the Left parties are also in the process of exploring whether any broad-based unity with secular parties was possible in the state and outside after the extraordinary unity of Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bhaujan Samaj Party (BSP), which gave outstanding results in Gorakhpur, Phulpur, Kairana and Noorpur by-elections.

The CPI-ML leader asserted that any broad-based alliance against the NDA will need the Left's powerful ideological force as an anchor to stick on the path of secularism, democracy and pluralism. "We are open to effective broad alliance or adjustment to defeat NDA," he added.

"We will also mobilise the people over the poor condition of farmers, unemployment, landlessness and lack of housing to counter the BJP's attack on democracy, rule of law and the Constitution of India. Lynching has become a hallmark of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rule," Bhattacharya said.

The CPI-ML (Liberation) had contested 23 seats from Bihar in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and had polled around 5 lakh votes, not a sizeable chunk among around 7 crore voters in the state. But then these are dedicated voters and could tilt the scales in close contests.

CPI-ML (Liberation) leaders said though they would be open to negotiations to achieve the aim of "BJP bhagao, desh bachao", they would also not like to let go of Ara, Siwan, Jehanabad and Karakat Lok Sabha seats, where they have been contesting for decades.

On the other hand, the CPI said it was ready to go with Lalu Prasad's RJD in an effort to defeat the BJP. "All the Left parties are united and will contest the Lok Sabha elections together. But our target is to defeat the BJP and save the democracy. We will go with the RJD on this," CPI state secretary Satya Narayan Singh said.


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