In the 16th Lok Sabha elections, the CPI(ML) had fielded 83 candidates across 15 states and 3 Union Territories. With one nomination cancelled in Uttar Pradesh, 82 had remained in the fray. The party has polled a little above 1 million votes, around the same level it had polled in 2009. But given the increase in the size of the electorate and in voting percentage, our vote share dropped marginally, giving us 0.2% of the all-India vote.
Even though we knew we had no chance of polling ‘respectable’ votes in most of the seats we contested, we nevertheless decided to field candidates in almost all our areas of work, because elections provide a major opportunity to assess our work and measure our political influence apart from campaigning on the burning issues confronting the people and propagating the political viewpoint of revolutionary democracy.
Our goal was to try and secure at least 10,000 votes in all our major areas of work and a minimum of 5,000 votes in other areas/states. As results stand, we have managed to poll more than 10,000 votes in 15 seats and more than 5,000 votes in another 29 seats. In as many as 21 seats we failed to reach even the 3,000 mark.
The statewise break-up of candidates and votes are as follows: Bihar – 23 candidates, 463,045 votes; Jharkhand – 8 candidates, 319,222 votes; Assam – 5 candidates, 42,015 votes; Uttar Pradesh – 10 candidates, 37,712 votes; West Bengal – 5 candidates, 34,843 votes; Odisha – 3 candidates, 25197 votes; Tamil Nadu – 5 candidates, 13,081 votes; Punjab – 3 candidates, 11,605 votes; Uttarakhand – 3 candidates, 11,392 votes; Gujarat – 1 candidate, 9,702 votes; Rajasthan – 3 candidates, 9,512 votes; Tripura – 2 candidates, 8,670 votes; Karnataka – 4 candidates, 7885 votes; Andhra – 2 candidates, 6,626 votes; Chhattisgarh – 2 candidates, 3,925 votes; Union Territories – 3 candidates, 2842 votes.
Among our best performances, we once again finished second in Kodarma in Jharkhand despite a significant increase in our votes from about 150,000 in 2009 to more than 265,000. In Bihar, we once again finished third in Arrah and Siwan polling 98,805 and 81,006 votes respectively. Among other major seats in Bihar we polled 51,623 votes in Pataliputra, 34,365 votes in Jahanabad, 32,686 votes in Karakat and 19,477 votes in Nalanda, with Pataliputra, Nalanda and Siwan witnessing a modest increase in our votes over 2009 while in Arrah we failed to reach the 1 lakh mark for the first time since 1989.
As far as other seats are concerned, we experienced major decline in these elections in Koraput (Odisha), Autonomous District (Assam) and Katihar (Bihar). Seats where we have made a positive beginning or improved on our previous levels include Lohardaga in Jharkhand, Garhwal in Uttarakhand, Supaul and Bhagalpur in Bihar, Koliabor in Assam, Sriperumbudur and Viluppuram in Tamil Nadu, and Chandigarh among Union Territories.
Our allies in All India Left Coordination have also played an active role in these elections. CPM Punjab put up 3 candidates in Punjab and polled nearly 24,000 votes, LNP(L) contested from Kolhapur in Maharashtra and polled 7,067 votes while RMP fielded 7 candidates in Kerala, polling 50,705 votes. CPRM and CPI(ML) jointly supported independent candidate Mahendra Lama from Darjeeling and he polled 55,767 votes.