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Left parties losing their grip in Andhra Pradesh
The Left parties are losing their grip in Andhra Pradesh, which was once considered as their bastion in the country. Electorally too, it was their strong hold after West Bengal, Kerala and Triupura. Here, for the first time, Communists dreamed of establishing the elected government in the country way back in 1952. Even they announced their cabinet well before polling date.

At the same time, even they attempted to establish the Communist regime in Telangana region through 'armed struggle'. However, the history makes them to depend on one or other major party in every election to get couple of seats in the Assembly.

If the dwindling Lok Sabha and Assembly seats and falling percentage of votes with each passing election are any indications, then two major Left parties in the State, CPI and CPM are fast losing their ground. The wave of support in Left parties' favour seems to have eroding.

Since 1985, both CPI and CPM were together even in alliance with other parties. However, for the first time in this elections they are going separately. In Telangana region, CPI is having alliance with the Congress. Congress first announced 11 assembly seats for CPI, which came down to seven by the time of announcing list of candidates. Even in these seven constituencies official Congress candidates are in the fray in two places. The PCC President Ponnala Lakshmaiah while appealing them to retire, says B Forms were given to them on 'temporary' basis.

The CPM is in alliance with YSR Congress Party, which is limited to Khammam district with regard to Telangana region. From this district it is now contesting on three assembly seats. In Seemandhra region CPM is exploring possibility of seat sharing with YSR Congress Party on one side and Jai Samaikyandhra Party on other side, while keeping the issue of alliance with CPI in pending.

In the first general elections in 1952, an undivided Communist Party of India (CPI) won 41 of the 63 seats and 16.46 per cent of votes in Andhra region and 32 of the 45 seats and 26.62 per cent of votes in Telangana region, (under the PDF banner). In Telangana, renowned Communist leader, who played active rule in 'armed struggle' Ravi Narayana Reddy had won from Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat, scoring more majority than the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who contested elections from Uttar Pradesh.

Many communist veterans admits that the downfall of the Left parties had its roots in vertical division of the party in 1964. In the present context, the two Left parties are fast losing ground since1983, with the entry of the Telugu Desam Party on the State's political horizon.

In fact, Andhra Pradesh politics took a dramatic turn in 1982 with the inception of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) by N T Rama Rao. Since then, the graph of the Left parties has been dwindling, with a few ups and downs.

In 1983 the CPM contested in 28 Assembly seats on its own but failed to clinch neither a decent number of votes nor seats on the expected lines. The CPI fought on 48 Assembly seats and won just four, two less than it earlier tally.

Realizing the strength of the NTR, both the Left parties joined hands with TDP by 1985 mid-term election and both the parties were benefited out of the alliance. Since then, the two Left parties have been changing alliances very often and are continuing to pay a price for it.

The erosion of support base for both the parties has been attributed to several factors, including the hijacking of their main pro- poor agenda by parties like the Congress and TDP. NTR introduced many welfare schemes like one-rupee-a-kg rice scheme and the Congress party too followed suit.

Both the Left parties have been in existence only because of alliances, as their individual strength is not sufficient to get large numbers. In the last three general elections, the Left parties failed to win considerable number of seats in both Lok Sabha and Assembly, except in 2009, thanks to its alliance with the Congress.

In 2004, both CPI and CPM won one seat each in Lok Sabha and six and seven Assembly seats with 1.53 per cent and 1.84 per cent votes respectively. In 1999, while CPM won just 2 Assembly seats and no LS seat, CPI could not open its account. Both the parties got 1.70 per cent and 1.26 per cent of votes respectively.

In 2009, both the parties joined the TDP-led grand alliance, but failed to get seats on the expected lines. While the CPI won four Assembly seats, the CPM had to confine with just one Assembly seat. Both the parties miserably failed in Lok Sabha elections with 1.31 per cent and 1.35 per cent of the total votes respectively.


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