Left scores better than 2019: Surprise in Bihar and Rajasthan

The left has failed to make its presence felt in Indian polity once again in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

CPI(M) workers participate in an election rally in Kerala. Photo credit: CPI(M) Kerala/Facebook

The counting of the Indian general election results shows that the conglomeration of over 20 opposition parties—Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA)—has been putting up a tough fight with the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), keeping it away from the magic figure of 272 required for an absolute majority. One of the remarkable developments visible in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections results is the paradox of the left.

While the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M)] played a pivotal role in building the INDIA coalition, they lost to its ally, the Indian National Congress (INC) in the left’s last remaining citadel—Kerala.

Although the CPI(M), the principal party of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) managed to win the 2021 Kerala Assembly elections for the second time in a row, which is unprecedented in the state’s recent history, it couldn’t manage to safeguard itself in the Lok Sabha elections.

Quite surprisingly, the BJP managed to lead in two constituencies of the state, which is a first for the north India-based Hindutva-incensed party.

However, while the INC has nearly swept Kerala, where its principal competitor was the CPI(M)-led LDF, its support has helped the latter lead comfortably in the northern state of Rajasthan. Amra Ram, the CPI(M) state secretary has been leading from the Sikar constituency with a margin of over 57,301 votes at the time of writing this article.

In the state of Bihar, where the CPI and the CPI(M) were contesting with the support of its INDIA partners, they couldn’t make any difference, although the CPI candidate from the BJP stronghold of Begusarai was leading in the early hours of the counting.

However, while the CPI and the CPI(M) failed to carve a niche in Bihar, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation [CPI(M-L) Liberation] has managed to secure a lead in two seats.

According to the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) data, the CPI(M-L) Liberation’s Sudama Prasad and Raja Ram Singh have been leading from Bihar’s Arrah and Karakat constituencies, respectively.

The CPI(M-L) Liberation, which originated from the Naxalite movement of the 1960s-70s, will have two of its representatives in the Parliament for the first time after 1999 when it managed to send its representative from the Karbi Anglong district of Assam.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, which were swept by incumbent Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the left parties, CPI and CPI(M) won two and three seats respectively. The trends of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are predicting at least nine seats will be won by the left parties, including the CPI, CPI(M) and the CPI(M-L) Liberation, which can help the bloc retain its waning influence in India’s political arena.

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