Tuesday, August 9, 2022

New Bihar Govt to have red shade

Amidst the immoral influence of electoral bonds which has eroded the legitimacy of all the public institutions, it is a miracle of grass root democracy that a new government in Bihar is going to have shades of red colour. The chargesheet of the Mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) against the NDA government’s performance released in June 2022 paved the way for the fall of the NDA government in Bihar. The chargesheet was released on the occasion of the anniversary of “Total Revolution Day” — the day in 1974 when socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan had called for a “total revolution” to bring about socio-economic and political transformation. It may be recalled that the communist and socialist parties had fought separately in 1974. 

Now both have learnt that people want them together in their political struggles. Before joining hands to form the new government, these parties had joined hands for the special status for Bihar and caste census and against issues like National Population Register (NPR) and Agnipath scheme. These parties recognise that Bihar has been denied it's due share of compensation under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime. During the pandemic, powers were invoked under Disaster Management Act to undermine the autonomy and powers of the state. These parties seem to have similar views with regard to farm laws, labour laws and the education policy. 

The “chargesheet” which released by the Mahagathbandhan reveals how Bihar is at the bottom in per capita income, human and gender development, gender equality, farmers’ condition, poverty, health, education, corruption and public welfare schemes.

The new government of the Magagathbandhan must use their own chargesheet, their manifestos and people's manifesto to draft a common minimum program to demonstrate that it indeed a people's government. 

While Magagathbandhan acted as a catalyst, Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) [CPI(ML)] and Communist Party of India (Marxist) performed better than Communist Party of India (CPI) and SUCI (C) because of the critical mass of their cadres, supporters and sympathisers. With 16 seats won, the Communist Parties got its best seat share since 1995 when CPI (ML) had contested 89 seats and had won 6 seats with 2.4 % vote share. CPI had contested 61 seats and had won 26 seats with 4.8 % vote share. CPI (M) had contested 31 seats had won 2 seats with 1.4 % vote share. In total, Left parties got 29 seats to contest as part of the Magagathbandhan. The Left's seat share is 6.6 % in 2020 elections, which is highest since 1995. 

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) won 12 seats with 3.16 % vote share, whereas the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Communist Party of India (CPI) won 2 seats each. Although it had announced candidates for 30 seats, CPI(ML) agreed to contest 19 seats in the interest of Mahagathbandhan and to accommodate other alliance partners for a larger cause. 

CPI (ML) candidate in Arrah, Bhojpur, Quyamuddin Ansari lost after winning 43.17 vote share. Its candidate in Bhore, Jitendra Paswan lost despite 40.25 % vote share. CPIML candidate in Aurai, Md. Aftab Alam lost after winning 24.65 % vote share. Its Daraunda candidate Amarnath Yadav lost after winning 37.15 %. Its Kalyanpur Samastipur candidate Ranjeet Kumar Ram lost after winning 33 % votes. Its Warisnagar candidate Phoolbabu Singh lost after winning 28.71 % vote share.  Its Digha, Patna candidate Shashi Yadav lost after winning 29.98 % share.  

CPI (ML) wrote to the Election Commission demanding a recount on in Bhorey, Arrah, Daraundha Assembly seats "due to dubious counting practices" where its candidates have been defeated in very narrow margins. In Bhorey, the JDU candidate Sunil Kumar who won is am ex- Additional DGP and therefore commands a lot of clout in the administration. The local JDU MP Alok Kumar Suman was seen entering the counting hall which is illegal and prohibited. This was clearly an attempt to influence fair count of votes. As of now, the ECI site shows Sunil Kumar at 73550 votes and CPIML’s Jitendra Paswan at 72524 votes. We seek your urgent intervention to ensure a recount of votes on this constituency. A recount of votes on the Arrah and Daraundha constituencies has been demanded because of discrepancies between VVPAT and EVM counts, and other irregularities.

Had CPI(ML) contested all the 30 seats it has announced initially, its rate of success and vote share would have increased significantly.

CPI(ML)’s performance provides a crucial message that sustained work of the party at the grassroot level throughout the year is the only way for the struggle-based parties to emerge as the voice of the people. Such work ensured that it garnered the support of over 25, 000-30, 000 cadres, supporters and sympathisers who became the key factors in their victory. Where ever their support base was less than 10, 000, they could not win the seat despite being part of the Magagathbandhan. The selection of seats and candidates appeared to be based on rigorous examination of their winnability.

CPI (M) Pipra Purvi Champaran candidate Raj Mangal Prasad lost after winning 40.1 % vote. Its Matihani candidate Rajendra Prasad Singh lost after winning 29.27 %. The narrow margin with which these seats were lost creates a logical compulsion for the party to work through the year. CPI (M) is the biggest gainer after CPI(ML). Its vote share in both the seats it lost shows that they were winnable seats. The selection of seats and candidates seems to have played a critical role.  

CPI candidate from Harlakhi, Ram Naresh Pandey, who is also the State Secretary lost after winning 25.58 % vote share. Its Jhanjharpur candidate, Ram Narayan Yadav lost after winning 29.36 % vote share. Its Rupauli candidate Vikas Chandra Mandal lost after winning 22.52 % vote share. Its Bachhwara, Begusarai Abdhesh Kumar Rai lost after gaining 29.94 vote share. The loss of Bachhwara by a narrow margin remains intriguing. BJP candidate got 54738 votes. CPI candidate got 54254 votes. In an unprecedented scenario, student wing associated with CPI expressed its strong dissent with regard to the selection of seats and candidates by a 6-member committee of the state unit. The loss of two seats from Madhubani district-Harlakhi and Jhanjharpur-creates a need for rigorous introspection. Unless the party deepens its work beyond electoral performance throughout the year, it is unlikely to win more seats in near future.

Significantly, three incumbent CPI(ML) MLAs from 2015 have retained their representation in the 2020 legislative assembly. The voters of Balrampur, Darauli and Tarari approved, awarded and re-elected these three sitting CPI(ML) MLAs.

Unlike capitalist parties and other parties in the Mahagathbandhan, personality cult was not a factor at all for the victory of the candidates from the Left parties. 

In the face of emergence of fascist and totalitarian regimes world over, unless Left parties and Socialist parties collaborate "total control" by 1 % of the India's population who control 73 % of country's wealth cannot be prevented.