The Left parties, with a total of nine members in the 243-member outgoing assembly, are approaching the coming polls with concern, having drawn a blank in the Lok Sabha elections last year, despite a seat-sharing arrangement among themselves.
This year too, the CPI-ML (Liberation), CPI and CPI-M have cobbled together a seat-sharing arrangement after initial hurdles to contest in about 200 constituencies. Though they won't admit it openly, Left leaders are worried about their ability to do any better than the 10 seats they won the last time.
The Left is banking mainly on a strong undercurrent for change among masses as the 15-year Lalu-Rabri rule and five years of the NDA's governance were marked by casteism, inept flood relief and rehabilitation and the Maoist problem.
The Nitish Kumar government's reluctance to implement land reforms, provide sharecroppers with rights to get bank credits, rampant corruption in implementation of welfare schemes and the unprecedented price rise are the issues the Left will highlight.
Their major weaknesses include the lack of resources, failure to transfer mass support into votes, their refusal to change, the lack of coordination among the three partners.
"Since 2009, the CPI-ML has worked towards mobilisation of peasants and farmers, giving us hope that the assembly elections will become a referendum for implementation of land reforms and sharecroppers' rights," said party general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya.