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The ‘Others’ in Bihar: The Third Front, the Left and Owaisi

Aside from the NDA and Mahagathbandhan, here’s a look at what the ‘others’ have to gain in the Bihar polls.

Published
Politics
3 min read


Janadhikar Party chief Pappu Yadav, could his alliance eat into the Mahagathbandhan vote? (Photo: <a href="https://twitter.com/HuffPostIndia/status/600194156103933952">Twitter.com/@HuffpostIndia</a>)

Understandably, the discussion around the Bihar elections has been largely focused on the two major alliances, the BJP led NDA and the Mahagathbandhan. There are also two other alliances in the fray. The Samajwadi Party (SP) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), along with Pappu Yadav’s Janadhikar Party and a smattering of other small parties have formed a Third Front.

The six left parties have also come together to contest the elections on their own steam.

Then of course, there is Asaduddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, which is contesting six seats in Seemanchal, an area with a relatively high percentage of Muslims.

In the polarised campaign, these parties have been derided as ‘vote katua’ parties.

So what is the best case scenario for the ‘others’ in this Bihar election?

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The Disgruntled Ones: SP, NCP and Pappu Yadav



The Janata Parivar, before Mulayam Singh and the SP walked out. (Photo: <a href="https://twitter.com/JanataParivar">Twitter.com/@JanataParivar</a>)
The Janata Parivar, before Mulayam Singh and the SP walked out. (Photo: Twitter.com/@JanataParivar)

Before the Mahagathbandhan came together, there was the Janata Parivaar. Pro Mandal formations that used to be part of the Janata Party, most importantly the RJD, JD(U) and Maulayam Singh’s SP. A merger would have created a formidable force in the politically crucial states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

The merger never happened, and when the SP walked out of the Mahagathbandhan, even the prospect of an alliance fell through.

The SP and NCP, who have some pockets of influence in Bihar joined hands with Pappu Yadav and are contesting nearly all the seats in this election.

Neither the SP nor NCP have a single seat in the Bihar assembly, and they quit the alliance in a tantrum over the “humiliating” number of seats they were offered, i.e. under 10 by the RJD-JDU combine.

Both the NCP and SP are unlikely to make much of an impact, except to take away a share of the Mandal (OBCs and EBCs) and minority vote from the Mahagathbandhan. Pappu Yadav however, has pockets of influence in Madhepura and Seemanchal and is competing with Lalu Prasad for the Yadav vote.

The best case scenario for the third front? Win enough seats to act as ‘kingmakers’ and grab a ministry or two in the new government in the bargain.

A Bid for Relevance for the Communists

File Photo: (L to R) Senior communist leaders Debabrata Biswas, Sitaram Yechury, A. B. Bardhan, D. Raja (standing) and Prakash Karat (Photo: Reuters)
File Photo: (L to R) Senior communist leaders Debabrata Biswas, Sitaram Yechury, A. B. Bardhan, D. Raja (standing) and Prakash Karat (Photo: Reuters)

Next in the list of alleged ‘vote katuas’ are the communists. Six left parties have come together to contest the elections. Currently, only the Communist Party of India (CPI) has a single MLA in the Bihar Assembly.

In an interview to The Quint, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury said that the left has a platform that is anti-capitalist as well as anti-feudal and anti-caste.

Is the left really going to offer an alternative to existing narratives in Bihar’s politics? Both the CPI and CPI(Marxist-Leninist) have an active organisation in Bihar. However, it is unlikely that this will translate into seats.

The best case scenario for the CPI and CPI(M) is to maintain or marginally exceed their tally from 2010. A significant vote-share will also help both these parties maintain their ‘National Party’ status, something they are in danger of losing if their electoral fortunes are not revived soon.

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Owaisi Spreads His Influence



File photo of AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi. (Photo: PTI)
File photo of AIMIM Chief Asaduddin Owaisi. (Photo: PTI)

The Bihar elections are not yet over, but Asaduddin Owaisi and the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) are keen to spread their influence even further, most likely to West Bengal, which goes to the polls next year.

The AIMIM is contesting only six seats in the Seemanchal region, and has a fighting chance in at least two seats in Kishanganj district.

But even without a single seat, the AIMIM has grabbed headlines, national attention and become a party with significant name recognition in Seemanchal, as well as Bihar as a whole.

For a relatively small and new party, the campaign itself is the success story, any seats they win are a huge bonus.

Whether this bodes well for Bihar remains to be seen.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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