The Left parties have reasons to cheer up as they have won 16 out of 29 seats they contested in the Bihar Assembly elections. The strike rate is much better for the Left parties this election, and according to CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, this is the response to those who were writing off the Left parties. Among the Left parties, the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation or CPI (M-L) is the standout performer this election. The party won 12 out of 19 seats it contested on. Of the 19 candidates from the party, six are under 35 years of age and 10 are below 50 years. The Communist Party of India (CPI) won two out of six seats it contested on, while the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M) won two out four seats.
The Left Parties contested the elections as an ally of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Congress in the opposition Grand Alliance or Mahagathbandhan. Incidentally, this was the first time that the CPI(M-L) joined hands with the RJD. The CPI(M) and CPI have allied with the RJD in the past elections.
The 2020 Bihar election set the stage of the resurgence of the Left parties in the state, although the JD(U)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won the election, by a slender majority. In the 2015 Assembly elections, the Left parties had faired poorly. While the CPI(M-L) had won three out of the 98 seats it contested, the CPI and the CPI(M) drew a blank though it contested from 98 and 43 seats respectively.
"We were clear from the beginning that we have to defeat the BJP. Our strike rate in Bihar is 80% and if we had been given more seats, we would have contributed more to the Mahagathbandhan tally," Yechury said, adding that the Leftâ€™s alliance with the RJD and Congress combined issues of social justice with that of economic justice.
Currently, the Left parties combined is in power only in Kerala. The CPI(M) is leading the Left Democratic Front (LDF) in Kerala under the leadership of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Left parties have reigned West Bengal and Tripura for decades. In Bengal, the Left coalition was in power for 34 years until it was voted out of power in 2009. The party lost its northeastern bastion Tripura in 2018, ending 25 years of its rule.
The CPI(M) also holds one seat each in the Assembly constituencies of Maharashtra [Dahanu (ST)] and Odisha (Bonai), and two seats in the Rajasthan Legislative Assembly.