Once all parties of the opposition, comprising RJD, Congress, HAM, NCP and Left, come together and form a united front, defeating the ruling NDA party becomes a not-so-impossible task. A state wise united opposition is the only way to stop BJP from coming to power in 2019.
Bihar has 40 Lok Sabha seats. Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have always been considered as the road to Delhi. The recently held bypoll elections have proved that collaboration between local political parties can defeat the incumbent BJP even in constituencies that are considered their stronghold, like Gorakhpur, Phulpur and Kairana.
Lok Sabha 2014
In 2014, NDA won 104 out of the total 120 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh together. NDA won 31 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats with 41% votes in the general election. If we add JD(U) seat and its vote share in the NDA, then the tally increases to 33 seats with 56% vote share. UPA won 7 seats with 30% votes in 2014. They could have won five more seats if they had an alliance with the Left bloc. In Siwan, Begusarai and Arrah, Left parties were in the 3rd spot. RJD lost Jehanabad and Patliputra by a margin less than the votes given to Left parties in these respective seats.
RJD won four Lok Sabha seats which are Araria, Banka, Bhagalpur and Madhepura. Bhagalpur seat was won by RJD’s Shailesh Kumar alias Bullo Mandal by 9,000 votes and Banka seat with a 10,000 votes. Madhepura went to Pappu Yadav with 56,433 votes who parted ways with RJD and formed his own party JAP (Jan Adhikar Party). In recently held Araria Lok Sabha by-polls, RJD won by a narrow margin.
Assembly Election 2015
In the 2015 assembly elections, RJD-JD(U)-Congress formed “Mahagathbandan” in Bihar and defeated NDA soundly. RJD, JD (U), INC and HAM got 18.6 %, 16.8% , 6.7% and 2.3% votes respectively. HAM, earlier part of NDA, was now a part of “Mahagathbandan”. In this election, Left bloc got 3 assembly seats with 4% vote share. 4 percent votes can sway results either way in a highly competitive election.
Begusarai Lok Sabha Seat
Begusarai is considered as the Leningrad of Bihar. RJD and Left parties have been losing this seat for the last two terms. Young and dynamic student leader Kanhaiya Kumar who has pan India appeal can be the ideal candidate for the united opposition. With him having a strong influence among the youth, his candidature will benefit the whole opposition. He can attract votes from youth and galvanize support for united front.
Siwan Lok Sabha Seat
Siwan, once considered a stronghold of RJD, has seen changes during the last few elections. Heena Shahab, wife of incarcerated MP Mohammad Shahabuddin , has lost two parliamentary elections badly. In the last election, she lost with a margin of over 1 lakh votes. On the other hand, CPI ML candidate got 80,000 votes. In 2015 assembly election CPI-ML got over 1 lakh votes. Had they allied, maybe the stronghold would still have been under RJD rule.
Arrah Lok Sabha Seat
Arrah is one of the strongest areas of Left bloc in Bihar. The struggle of downtrodden and dalits over the years has increased the foothold of Left in the area. CPI ML once won this parliamentary seat with more than 1 Lakh votes. An alliance with Left bloc can help in defeating the NDA in 2019 where every seat is important in an election that is going to be highly competitive.
Jehanabad and Patliputra Lok Sabha seats would have been won by RJD if they had a tactical alliance with CPI ML. They lost both these seats by a margin of about 50,000. RJD has lost at both these seats for the last two terms. An alliance would have bagged five seats for united opposition.
In the last general election, RJD won two parliamentary seats, Banka and Bhagalpur with a margin of 10,000. The recent communal flare-up in Bhagalpur communalized the entire area and was deliberately designed to harness political benefit in the upcoming general election.
The opposition parties should increase their vote base by accommodating more and more parties having similar ideology at a time when the ruling party is aggressively pushing Hindutva ideology and at the same time trying to make an alliance with parties even different ideology. An alliance is the only way to ensure BJP’s defeat in the upcoming elections. Political parties need to put aside their differences to ensure the betterment of the masses that have helped rise to power.
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