The unexpected low numbers of the opposition-led alliance of Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress and the Left parties have been brightened by the good showing by the CPI(ML). The marginalized Left unit, which is contesting in a big way for the first time, is currently leading on 12 seats, just behind the 20 of the Congress. The Rashtriya Janata Dal is leading the board with 60-plus seats.
"The Congress is the biggest liability on opposition alliance, not left," author and columnist Ajay Bose told NDTV.
The CPI(ML), which had a Naxal past, had an association with the Rashtriya Janata Dal and in this election was allotted seats from the RJD's quota. The party is contesting 19 seats in this election, the rest of the seats for the Left block has gone to the CPI and the CPIML.
Describing the tie-up as a "big achievement", Mr Bose said, "It is a huge leap for the CPIML to have an alliance with Lalu's party, which has been responsible for some of the most dastardly attacks on the extreme Left."
It shows how far the party has come politically, he said.
At the height of Mandal politics - backed by most of the political leaders in Bihar who were tempered by the JP movement -- class politics of CPI and the CPM had got integrated into the caste politics of the RJD. But the CPI(ML) had still managed to retain its base, which has helped it in the current elections.
Talking of the high strike rate of the Left, Mr Bose said it just shows that among the poor, the marginalised and the lower castes, the CPIML and the individual candidates "have a certain credibility" but they never ever had a chance to list their performance because they never ever had an alliance to compete in the mainstream.
Tracing the genesis of the alliance, Dipankar Bhattacharya, the general secretary of the CPIML had earlier told NDTV that the RJD and the CPI(ML) had a tacit before the 2019 elections and they backed the RJD in four Lok Sabha seats.
In three of those seats, the opposition candidates polled more than 4 lakh votes. The CPI(ML) candidates in Arah and Bhojpur had polled more than 4 lakh votes.