The big brotherly attitude of the RJD and the Congress is not going down well with the Left parties including the CPI, the CPI(M) and the CPI(ML), keen though they are to be a part of the Grand Alliance in Bihar for the upcoming elections.
State RJD chief Ramchandra Purbe has already made it clear that his party will contest 20 to 22 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and leave the rest for its allies.
Congress leaders stake claim to 12-15 seats followed by the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), which wants to contest five-six seats; the Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM-S) and the fledgling Vikassheel Insan Party (VIP), which are asking for three and one seat each.
Between them the three Left parties are eyeing at least 10 of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state, but have little chance of getting these.
Sources say that both the RJD and the Congress want to keep the Left parties in the Grand Alliance in view of their pockets of influence in over a dozen districts of the state but are not willing to give them more than 3-4 seats.
Sensing this, the CPI(ML), which is considered a strong political force with three legislators in the state assembly and a huge support base across several districts, particularly in the rural areas, has made it clear that the Left must not be neglected.
While the party has announced fielding candidates in at least six seats including Arah, Siwan, Karakat, Jehanabad, Patliputra and Valmikinagar, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya has warned the RJD and the Congress that the Left and the Socialist parties would go to the polls together if they’re not given a respectable seat share.
“We, the Left parties are united and have a formidable support base,” he said.
Similarly, the CPI is ready to contest at least three seats including its traditional strongholds of Begusarai and Madhubani.
Former JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar is likely to be a CPI candidate from Begusarai.
“Kanhaiya Kumar has been visiting villages and semi-urban pockets in Begusarai since last December to meet people and seek their support,” a CPI leader said.
CPI state secretary Satyanarayan Singh said talks for seat sharing were on with leaders of the Grand Alliance and it will be finalised soon. “One thing is certain. The CPI will contest from Begusarai,” he said.
Singh was the only Left leader who shared the stage with Congress president Rahul Gandhi at his February 3 rally in Patna and even addressed it.
CPI(M) state secretary Avadhesh Kumar said the Left parties will contest the next Lok Sabha polls, with or without the Grand Alliance. “The Left parties have their own strong support base and influence in a numbers of seats. We have to contest from all such seats.”
In the 2014 general elections, the RJD won only four seats and the Congress two. The NCP won one seat. The JD-U, which contested separately, also won only two seats. The BJP-led NDA won 31 seats, with the BJP tally being 22.