Will CPI(M) sink further or stabilise in LS polls?

At its height in 2004, CPI(M) polled 5.66% of votes nationally contesting 69 seats in 19 states and winning 43 and at its worst ten years later, it garnered 3.28% votes to win just nine seats after contesting a whopping 93 seats. PTI file photo

At its height in 2004, CPI(M) polled 5.66% of votes nationally contesting 69 seats in 19 states and winning 43 and at its worst 10 years later, it garnered 3.28% votes to win just nine seats after contesting a whopping 93 seats.

Five years down the line from its worst electoral performance, the question that stare at the CPI(M), the biggest Left party in the country, as one heads to Lok Sabha elections is whether it will sink further after its decline started in 2009, after withdrawing support to UPA government and losing power in West Bengal.

Hectic efforts and political manoeuvres are on ahead of the polls with the CPI(M) trying to at least retain the seats it won in 2014 by entering into coalitions in states and supporting the Opposition parties that can defeat BJP in other states.

Sources said the CPI(M) aims to at least retain the five seats in Kerala and win two seats in Tamil Nadu and one each in Bihar and Maharashtra after entering into an alliance with DMK, RJD and NCP which are in coalition with Congress. While DMK has agreed to two seats in Tamil Nadu, talks are still on for Dindori or Palghar seat in Maharashtra and Ujiarpur in Bihar.

However, the party assessment is that they unlikely to retain the two seats in Tripura and it would be an uphill task to win the two sitting seats in Bengal.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury admits that there were electoral reverses but objects to analysing his party's impact just on election victories. "It is true that on electoral front, there are reverses. But don't forget it was we who set the agenda on unemployment and agrarian crisis among others. You must remember the two large mobilisations of farmers and workers last year," he said recently.

The party is credited by other Opposition parties for setting the anti-BJP agenda since 2015 through consistent campaigns against the BJP on lynching, Dalit atrocities, farm distress and other issues.

While electoral gains may not be impressive for the CPI(M), including in West Bengal even after having an undeclared understanding with Congress in West Bengal during 2016 Assembly polls, it had rallied diverse range of liberals and anti-BJP activists on same platform and even bridged the gap between Dalits and Marxists through a slogan 'Neel Salaam, Lal Salaam'. The CPI(M) is also seen as a prime mover of the Opposition unity.

Armed with Hyderabad Party Congress decision allowing an electoral understanding with Congress that was arrived following an intense inner-party struggle, the CPI(M) has for the first time publicly announced its intent to enter into an electoral understanding with Rahul Gandhi-led Congress in West Bengal. It has also announced its intent to support Congress in Odisha where it wants to contest one seat, for which it has sought Congress support.

However, the plans in Bengal may not go the way CPI(M) wants as the Congress is in no mood so far to accept its proposal to leave CPI(M)'s two sitting seats in Murshidabad and Raiganj while the Left would support the former in its four sitting seats.

But unofficially, Congress leaders have said that Congress chief Rahul Gandhi has instructed them not to field candidates in these states.

If the Congress does not accept this, the Left Front leaders said that there will be no understanding at all and there is a likelihood of a four-cornered contest unless Congress and Trinamool Congress enter into an alliance.

In 2004, Bengal sent 26 CPI(M) MPs to Lok Sabha while it declined to 16 in 2009 and to a dismal two last time. In 1999, it won 21 seats.

In a bid to increase it seats, CPI(M) will be fielding more candidates in Kerala this time compared to last time by taking seats from Left allies. This time, it is fielding 16 candidates in Kerala, including backing two independents, compared to 14 last time.

Narendra Modi or Rahul Gandhi? Who will win the battle royale of the Lok Sabha Elections 2019


Get real-time news updates, views and analysis on Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on Deccanherald.com/news/lok-sabha-elections-2019 


Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and Instagram with #DHPoliticalTheatre for live updates on the Indian general elections 2019.

Liked the story?

  • 2

    Happy
  • 2

    Amused
  • 2

    Sad
  • 0

    Frustrated
  • 2

    Angry

Comments:

Will CPI(M) sink further or stabilise in LS polls?

0 comments

Write the first review for this !