Bihar Assembly Election 2020: Left’s tie-up talks with RJD hit, CPI-ML fumes over a ‘raw deal’
Reliable sources said the CPI-ML leadership was peeved after the RJD offered it only seven to eight seats as against 53 seats it had sought.Updated: Sep 20, 2020, 04:55 IST
The proposed alliance of left parties with the RJD-led grand alliance (GA) in Bihar ahead of state assembly polls has run into rough weather, with the state’s major left party, the CPI- ML(Liberation), now preparing to contest alone.
Reliable sources said the CPI-ML leadership was peeved after the RJD offered it only seven to eight seats as against 53 seats it had sought.
The party currently has three MLAs, having got 1.5% of the total votes polled in the 2015 assembly polls.
“The number of seats offered to us is minuscule and not at all acceptable. We have asked the RJD for a rethink on its offer. But we are now geared up to fight alone in over 53 seats. In case RJD responds positively in coming few days, we will think of adjustment. The ball is in RJD’s court,” CPI- ML(Liberation) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said on Saturday.
He said his party had initiated talks with RJD for a broader left unity to defeat the BJP-JD(U) combine.
One reason for talks between the two parties falling is that RJD rejected ML’s claim on seats like Ara and Phulwari which the former had won in 2015.
“In 2015 polls, RJD was in alliance with JD(U). In 2020, it is contesting with different partners. The 2015 formula of seat adjustment cannot be the criteria for 2020,” Bhattarcharya said.
The ML general secretary said his party has a strong cadre base in central Bihar, Mithilanchal, Siwan-Gopalganj and Seemanchal, but RJD was ignoring ground realities.
“In the 2019 parliamentary polls, ML had extended support to GA candidates, including RJD candidate, in four places where they polled more than 4 lakh votes. But in rest of the seats, GA candidates fared poorly. Wasn’t it the votes of ML that counted,” he asked.
The other two main left parties in Bihar, CPI and CPI-M, are still hopeful of a tie-up with the RJD-led GA but rued the talks were stretching too long.
The two parties together are angling for over 50 seats.
“We won 26 out of 52 seats we got in 1995 in alliance with RJD . We have given our list of seats to RJD. Our talks with RJD so far is positive,” said Ram Naresh Pandey, CPI state secretary.
CPM state secretary Awadesh Kumar said his party would take decision after holding further talks with RJD in coming days.
Social scientist Rakesh Tiwary said the GA would suffer a big blow in its attempt to form a larger rainbow coalition against the NDA if ML doesn’t join. “ML is a cadre based party and its support is crucial in many pockets to consolidate secular votes. But it looks an ML-RJD alliance is hard to come by as both have remained opposed to each other for long,” he said.
In Siwan, for instance, ML relentlessly fought against incarcerated Siwan strongman and former MP Mohammed Shahabuddin for years.
State president of RJD Jagdanand Singh could not be reached for comment.