A long-drawn peasants' uprising by the CPM in Rajasthan on two iconic election issues — bijli (power) and paani (water) — has paid off, with the party winning three seats in the state for the first time.
The stunning wins come in the wake of the party's efforts to establish itself in north India, for which the CPM had homed in on Rajasthan.
The two new red bastions are Anupgarh and Danta Ramgarh Assembly segments, apart from Dhod they held earlier. The party had gone to the polls with a clear aim to increase its tally, with "Ek se Anek (from one seat to many)" as its election anthem.
During the last elections in 2003, the CPM had fielded 18 candidates and won one. This time it contested 34 seats in Rajasthan, 12 in Madhya Pradesh, 10 in Jammu and Kashmir, six in Chhattisgarh and four in Delhi. The CPM had only three MLAs in the five poll-bound states – two in Jammu and Kashmir and one in Rajasthan.
In Rajasthan, the CPM had just one legislator, Amra Ram, in the Assembly for the past three terms from Dhod. This time he won from Danta Ramgarh seat.
"We gave leadership to the struggle for water from the Indira Gandhi canal and reduction of rural electricity prices in three large districts," CPM central committee member S. Ramachandran Pillai told HT.
"If water is available today in Ganganagar, it's because of us. CPM agitators forced the Vasundhara Raje government to reduce the price of electricity for farmers," Hanan Mollah, state CPM leader said.
Party candidate Pema Ram won Dhod by 3,100 votes while in Anupgarh, party candidate Pawan Duggal polled 48,467 votes against 26,857 of the Congress. Dodh and Danta Ramgarh are in Sikar district, where CPM workers turned a crippling water crisis into a pitched battle.