New Delhi: After coming up with a surprising performance by bagging 16 out of the 30 seats contested in the recent Bihar Assembly elections, the Left parties, which fought in alliance with the RJD, have gone back to re-strategising for themselves ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections in Bengal which was once a CPM stronghold.
Sources in the Bengal unit of the CPM said that the Bihar results have come as a surprise to them as well, since they were not expecting such an “outstanding” performance by the party and this has in itself helped energise the cadre in Bengal which is going to take on the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the BJP just six months from now.
“We are trying to figure out the factors that worked in favour of us. We will replicate the same methods that worked for us in Bihar. As per our preliminary understanding, migrant issues, the issue of Covid-19 pandemic which we strongly raised, where millions of people were left to fend for themselves, have caught the attention of the marginalised sections of the society. It seems that they have once again reposed their faith in the Left ideology that constantly works for the upliftment of the downtrodden,” a Left leader from Bengal told this correspondent.
For the first time in Bihar, the Left parties—comprising the CPI(M). CPI and the CPI(M-L)—fought under an alliance and this, the Left leaders believe, worked in their favour. Some Left leaders that this correspondent spoke to said that earlier, the Left votes, which used to be fragmented, have been consolidated this time since they decided to fight as “one”. Left leaders also credit RJD chief and former Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, who is currently in jail, for bringing all the Left parties together this time around and solidifying the Mahagathbandhan alliance.
In the 2015 Bihar Assembly elections, the Left parties together were able to garner just three seats. While the CPI and the CPIM scored zero that year, it was only the CPI(ML) which managed to get three seats. Left leaders from Bengal also say that, as part of their re-drawn strategy for Bengal, all the Left parties this time are likely to fight the 2021 Assembly elections together, unlike in the previous years when the CPI(ML) and the SUCI would contest on their own. Apart from this, the CPM, which is already in an alliance with the Congress in Bengal, would continue with the alliance and go into the 2021 Assembly Sabha polls with the Congress.
Taking a cue from Bihar, the Left is also pushing towards garnering the young voters in the state for which the party has already started reaching out to the youths in Bengal. According to CPM leaders from Bengal, the party has garnered a lot of votes from the youths this time around in Bihar and keeping that in mind, the Left parties, which have already been promoting youth leaders since the last few years, will work towards pushing more young faces forward.
Speaking to The Sunday Guardian, Dr Fuad Halim, senior leader of the CPM from Bengal, claimed, “It has been decided that we have to strengthen the Left parties and include the broader Left intelligentsia and then construct a Left and secular democratic alliance and this is what the Mahagathbandhan is all about. We will do the same thing in Bengal, as we appeal to all the secular democratic forces to come forward and form a formidable force to take on the BJP and the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government. As in Bihar, people have found that the only reliable and concrete alternative to the BJP is the Left organisation; this will also be seen in Bengal. We have also got six times more number of seats in Bihar compared to last time and this shows that the consolidation of the Left has benefited and this is what will be done for Bengal as well.”
The Left also believes that the distribution of tickets, which were mostly given to people belonging from the “intellectual community”, has helped them in Bihar and the party is likely to repeat the same in Bengal. Left party sources from Bengal hinted that they already have a sizable number of intelligentsia with them, they would consider giving tickets to them since they appeal to the youth voters. Apart from this, the Left parties are also going to reach out to the most marginalised sections of society in Bengal who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Amphan super cyclone in Bengal that devasted parts of the state earlier this year. Since then, they say that a huge number of young cadres of the CPM has been working on the ground with them and they believe that the party has been able to win their trust as the alternative party in the interiors of Bengal. “There has been a resurgence in the support base of the CPM and Left parties in various districts in Bengal and this has been primarily because of the migrants who have come back with a great degree of discontent with regards to the handling of the migrant crisis by the state as well as the Centre and the CPM has been with them ever since the pandemic has hit. Our cadres have been on the ground with them, taking care of their needs; so definitely, they are going to repose their faith in the Left parties.” Dr Fuad Halim claimed.