One of the biggest shocks to emerge from the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is perhaps the unseemly unravelling of the Left forces in India. The undivided Communist party under AK Gopalan's leadership was the main Opposition party in India with more than 50 seats in the parliament. But the Left is now looking at its biggest existential question if the current lead levels are anything to go by.
The CPI-M is not leading in any seats in West Bengal, the fiefdom they ruled for an uninterrupted 34 years until Mamata Banerjee broke down the citadel in 2011. In Kerala, the other stronghold of the party, it's leading in only one seat as of now. In Tripura, the CPI-M doesn't look claiming a single seat. Surprisingly, the party is holding on to lead in 4 seats in Tamil Nadu, a state where it hasn't been strong.
If CPI-M holds on to the current lead they will have about 5 seats in parliament, down from 9 in the previous house. However, the win in Tamil Nadu will bring little solace to the party as it's seen largely as a brush-off effect from the alliance with the DMK and the Congress. The Left is a minor partner in the DMK-Congress alliance that's sweeping the state in another typical example of Tamil Nadu's history of giving all or nothing to parties.
In Bengal, TMC is leading in 24 seats while BJP is leading in 17 seats, leaving only one seat to Congress. The Left isn't leading in any. In Kerala, the Congress-led UDF is leading in 19 of the 20 seats while the Left is leading in only one seat.. What's surprising is that in West Bengal, the vote share of CPI-M is also seen dipping too low. As per trends Mamata Banerjee's TMC is holding on to 44 percent of the votes while BJP has made a big surge to capture early 40 percent of the votes.
As per the latest trends, the Left in Bengal cannot claim it's the alternative to the TMC. The BJP has easily appropriated that role for themselves. The Left will have to figure out how they can regroup in the state it once ruled with an iron grip.
In Kerala, an unseemly wave in favour of the Congress has scuttled the party's hopes of emerging as the true fighter of RSS and BJP. This is an irony considering that the Left used the Sabarimala issue to position itself as the anti-BJP force. It hoped that the minorities would rally behind it even as the majority would support the Left en-masse. Now the vote share of BJP in Kerala will hold clue to how the Left is going to fare in the future.