The alliances of the Left parties and the Janata Dal (United) have decided to focus on a few seats where a respectable defeat, if not victory, may be achieved. The CPI and CPI(M) are contesting from five and two seats, respectively, in alliance with the Rashtriya Samanta Dal — a Bundelkhand-based party that is popular among the Kushwaha caste. The RSD is expected to field nominees in six to seven seats.

The traditional Left-Samajwadi Party alliance here broke up during the Assembly polls last year. The SP has decided to go it alone this time in Madhya Pradesh. While the CPI is fielding candidates from Bhopal, Khargone, Shahdol, Tikamgarh and Balaghat, the CPI(M) is fighting from Gwalior and Ratlam.

CPI(M) State secretary Badal Saroj told The Hindu , “The election expenditure limit is Rs.70 lakh per seat. We can’t even spend that much, hence we are just contesting in seats where our movement has been active. Our goal, nationally, is for a post-poll understanding with like minded parties.”

The JD(U)-Gondwana Gantantra Party (GGP) alliance received a shot in the arm last month. GGP factions such as the Akhil Bharatiya Gondwana Party, Gondwana Mukti Sena, Rashtriya Gondwana Party and Gondwana Congress Party merged with the parent party in Amarkantak on February 9.

The GGP hopes to field candidates in 13 seats and the JD(U) in four. JD(U) chairman Sharad Yadav had represented Jabalpur constituency from 1974 to 1980. Over the past few years, the party has found little success in reviving its organisation in traditional socialist bases of Bagelkhand, Mahakoshal and Narmadapuram. The JD(U) may fight from Jabalpur, Rewa, Khajuraho and Ratlam.

Since 2008, both the JD(U) and the GGP have not had an elected MLA. The Adijan Mukti Sena, a tribal party active in Nimar and Dhar, has joined the alliance and may contest two to three seats.

The GGP is expected to put up a tough fight from Mandla, where it participated in the agitation against the Chutka nuclear plant, along with the CPI and the Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) led by K.N. Ramachandran. The CPI(ML) has announced nominees from Bhopal, Rewa and Sidhi, where it is active among coal miners. The party would extend support to the GGP in Mandla and other areas of its limited influence, Mr. Ramachandran said.

Mandla is currently held by the Congress, which has fielded a new face Omkar Markam against BJP’s ‘Gond Goliath’ Faggan Singh Kulhaste.