Himachal polls: Will the Communists succeed in retaining their only seat in North India in the Himachal Pradesh Assembly Election this time? The question is valid in the case of CPI-M, since the party has made its little presence felt after 24 years by winning the single seat in 2017 assembly election.
Rakesh Singha, a sitting MLA of the Theog constituency, has been credited with the party’s presence in the state and is again aiming for a similar outcome this time as well. However, the party does not appear to be optimistic as it has only announced 11 candidates for the assembly election. The remaining 57 seats have been totally ignored. Though the Sources claimed that the party may tie up with the Aam Aadmi party in the remaining 57 seats.
Political analysts claim that Rakesh Singha is undeniably popular among the masses. Last time, the party veteran had defeated BJP’s Rakesh Verma and Congress’ Deepak Rathore taking advantage of the infighting within the two parties as cliquism had torn both the Congress and the BJP apart. But the party cannot rely solely on one individual leader or win elections on his name as the Congress used to do by projecting Lt. Virbdahra Singh or Prem Kumar Dhumal as CM faces.
Role of CPI (M) in Himachal polls
Moreover, the fact cannot be denied that the party doesn’t have a strong hold in the state. The CPI indirectly assists one party or another to split the votes. However, this time it is important to note that a strong showing by the CPI (M) would be especially damaging to the Congress at a time when the grand old party believes it stands a chance to regain power in the state. At the same time it is a question of the party’s identity as well, so the party has to really get onto the ground to get some good wins .
It’s worth noting here that the CPI’s Theog constituency represents not just Himachal Pradesh, but the entire north. Since there is no stronghold of the CPI in the north, the seat has its own significance.
Prior to 2017, Rakesh Singha had won an Assembly seat for the CPI (M) in Himachal in 1993. However, he was unable to finish his term as he was found guilty of a committing a murder as a student. The CPI (M), however, has since achieved other successes, including winning the Shimla Municipal Corporation, and in Panchayat elections in the past.