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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Verdict against popular faces of BJP, says CPI(ML) leader Dipankar Bhattacharya

'I think the mandate has a very clear direction. It is against the Modi regime. It is against the BJP as a party, but more particularly I think it is against the known faces of the BJP,' Bhattacharya said.
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 10:54 IST
Last Updated : 06 June 2024, 10:54 IST

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New Delhi: The Lok Sabha election mandate is against the BJP and its popular faces Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath, CPIML leader Dipankar Bhattacharya has said.

In an interview with PTI, the CPI (Marxist-Leninst) Liberation (CPI(ML)) general secretary also said though the results in Bihar were below the I.N.D.I.A. bloc's expectation, the state played an important role in setting a narrative centred around issues like employment, and caste census.

"I think the mandate has a very clear direction. It is against the Modi regime. It is against the BJP as a party, but more particularly I think it is against the known faces of the BJP," Bhattacharya said.

Targeting the BJP, he said the poll campaign was centred around Modi.

"In many places Modi went and said I am your PM. So, it's a mandate against Modi, Shah, and Adiyanath in particular, especially if you look at the Uttar Pradesh results. I think this is the demand of the country that these people have lost the mandate in particular... there is no way that they should be at the helm of the government," he said.

Bhattacharya said the BJP was clueless during the elections, and none of their "jumlas" (rhetoric) worked.

"The BJP expected this election to be all about the Ram temple, and then they realised the Ram temple is just no longer an issue at all... They were absolutely clueless. No jumla worked," he said.

"The issues of livelihood, the issues of people's rights, liberties, the concern about the future of the Constitution, all these things came to the fore. So, there was a clear people's agenda in this election, and I think Bihar played a pioneering role in shaping this agenda," he asserted.

Asked about the opposition alliance's performance in Bihar, he said the I.N.D.I.A. bloc "under-performed", even as they increased their tally compared to 2019.

"My personal expectation was that we should advance from our 2020 performance (in the Bihar assembly election), which was close to a 50-50 kind of thing. So, I was hoping we would get more than 20 seats," he said.

"Looking back, I still feel it was perfectly possible... With a slightly better, more rational kind of allocation of seats in north Bihar, I think we could have done much better," he said.

The BJP and JD(U) won 12 seats each in Bihar, while NDA allies Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) won all five seats it contested and Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) got one, totalling to 30 of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

Among the I.N.D.I.A. bloc parties, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) won four seats, Congress won three, while CPIML won two. Pappu Yadav, who fought as an independent candidate, also won.

Talking about the performance of his party, which won two out of the three seats if fought in Bihar, he said, "People call it strike rate and I always say that actually we get very few overs to bat. So, it's like in the slog overs we come and just do a Dhoni type of finishing."

In the 2020 assembly election, the CPIML had won 12 out of the 19 seats it contested. In this Lok Sabha elections, the party won Arrah and Karakat, while it lost Nalanda.

"After more than three decades, we got two MPs from Bihar. And obviously it should give some boost to the struggles on the ground too," he said.

The CPIML Liberation was represented earlier in Lok Sabha by Rameshwar Prasad who had won Arrah as a candidate of the Indian People's Front, which was the mass front of the CPIML between 1982 to 1994.

While it could not win Arrah again for over 30 years, Jayanta Rongpai won four times from the Autonomous District constituency of Assam between 1991 to 2004. He fought thrice as the candidate of the Autonomous State Demand Committee, and once as the candidate of CPIML.

Bhattacharya said the performance of the JD(U) was surprising, noting it continues to be popular among the extremely backward classes, and women.

Asked if he expected Nitish Kumar to push demands like caste census as a part of the NDA government, he said, "he should... Because he was taking credit for it".

He, however, said the most important thing for Kumar to realise was that the people's mandate was against Modi, Shah and Adityanath.

"So, these three people in particular cannot be at the helm of the government. So, if Nitish Kumar is part of this new arrangement, I think he should try and assist on this," he said.

"I would appreciate it if there is a non-BJP speaker, whether from JD(U) or from the TDP, but that will at least restore some semblance of decency and democracy within Parliament," he added.

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Published 06 June 2024, 10:54 IST

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