The vote share of the radical Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) has reduced to negligible 0.3% and 0.4%, respectively, showing that the voter sees no hope in them.
Interestingly, even the NOTA (none of the above) option introduced on the electronic voting machines (EVMs) from the current elections has received 0.4% responses of the total votes polled.
The lack of leadership and a tangible agenda in these parties is seen as a major reason for distancing of the vote bank from them. Even independent candidates in the fray have secured 3.6% of the vote share.
In these elections, the CPI fielded its candidates from five constituencies -- Faridkot, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Patiala and Sangrur -- and in total it received 53,724 votes. In the 2009 polls, the party contested on two seats -- Bathinda and Faridkot -and received around 40,000 votes from these constituencies.
“The electorate is being polarised into two big parties, due to which small parties are not getting much space.
Even parties like the Bahujan Samaj Party have been wiped out,” says Bant Brar, secretary of the CPI, adding that the CPI needs serious introspection to re-emerge, as nationally also our graph is falling fast.
In 2004, the CPI won 63 parliamentary seats; it came down to 23 in 2009 and 10 in the recent polls.
SAD (Amritsar) party general secretary Jaswant Singh Mann says, “Our party is no longer of radicals; also, there is hardly anyone left with a radical thought, we plan to revive our party on modern lines.”
It was in 1989 that the SAD (Amritsar) called SAD (Mann) at the time won eight parliamentary seats and Simranjeet Singh Mann who led the party from jail won with the highest margin of 4.6 lakh votes from Tarn Taran, but found very few supporters (only 14,000) in the current polls.
In 1989, the party got 41% votes. It won only one seat in 1999 from Sang rur and after that Mann lost three consecutive polls, now tallying only 14,000.