I still remember the tumultuous days of 2008 in India. Almost no one remembers that former Indian Prime Minister V. P. Singh passed away in late 2008. That is because he died even as India was bang in the middle of 26/11 when terrorists “sponsored” by the military establishment in Pakistan killed more than 166 people in Mumbai in an act of barbaric savagery. Even before that, there had been multiple bomb blasts across cities in India that killed scores of innocent Indians. There was also that encounter in Batla House in Delhi where Delhi cop Mohan Chand Sharma sacrificed his life in a gunfight with born in India terrorists. If you believe Congress leader Salman Khursheed, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had wept upon hearing of the death of terrorists, not of Inspector Sharma. But the most important development of the year occurred on July 22, 2008 when the Dr. Manmohan Singh UPA government won a vote of confidence over the nuclear deal with the United States amidst charges of bribes.
Both the BJP and the Left comprising the CPI (M), CPI and other assorted Marxist parties, it seems, had made up their minds to commit political suicide over the issue. The nuclear deal with the US was actually the end result of the process kick stated by the previous NDA regime led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. So it was inexplicable to any India with common sense why the BJP was opposing the same nuclear deal in 2008 when it was in the opposition. The Indian voter usually has dollops of common sense and cruelly punished the L. K. Advani led BJP in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and handed a second and bigger mandate to Dr Manmohan Singh. Saner minds prevailed and eventually stopped the BJP from jumping off the electoral cliff after that.
Not the Left. When the consortium of Left parties won 54 Lok Sabha seats in 2004, they stumbled into a world of delusions and illusions. Left leaders thought the Indian voter had decisively rejected the “capitalist” policies encouraged by the Vajpayee government. They felt a Second Coming of the revolution of the proletariat was a matter of time. So cocksure were they of the power of blackmail the Left had over the UPA that CPI (M) honcho had threatened Dr. Manmohan Singh his government would collapse once the Left parties withdrew support. Their confident arrogance was buoyed by the stupid behaviour of the BJP. When George Bush had visited India as the US President in 2006, they had “boycotted” him and held rallies against him in Delhi and elsewhere. Do remember, they were still seemingly invincible in West Bengal & Tripura, dominant in Kerala and a formidable force in pockets of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar. They were convinced they had Dr Singh by the throat and were determined to squeeze as hard as possible. The irony is: the Indian voter has been squeezing them out since then. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, the Left tally cashed by more than half and it lost West Bengal in the 2011 assembly elections. Since then, it has lost Tripura and Kerala is the only state where it still has a dominant alliance. In other states, it survives on crumbs thrown by alliance partners like the RJD and the DMK.
Anyone with common sense would have learnt some lessons and done some course correction to re- connect with the Indian voter. But I have always been certain of one thing: when it comes to the Left, ideological nonsense always trumps over common sense. If some “Muslim” voters are involved, so much the better. No wonder the Left continues to behave like an ostrich even now. The best example is the on going conflict between Israel & Palestine. On October 7 2023, Hamas terrorists killed about 1400 Israeli soldiers, elderly and babies. For good measure, they gang aped young girls while killing them, butchered entire families and video recorded it all to boast to the world. Hamas also holds moe than 200 innocent people hostage. Israel has vowed to “eliminate” Hamas and has killed thousands of Palestinians in retaliatory strikes in Gaza which is controlled by Hamas. Inevitably, many innocents including babies and women have been killed. What would anyone with common sense do? First they would ask Hamas to release all hostages and then ask Israel to temporarily halt its charge against Hamas so that Palestinian “civilians” can find safer havens. But shockingly, large segments of folks across the wold still refuse to condemn Hamas and blame only Israel for the mess.
A leading light of this is Kerala chief minister and CPI (M) leader Pinnari Vijayan. Not only does he reuse to condemn Hamas but has publicly declared that Israel is a terrorist state. For good measure, he has demanded that the Narendra Modi regime cut off all ties with a strategic partner like Israel. It doesn’t matter to Vijayan that Israel has always supported India over the Jammu and Kashmir issue and Palestine along with almost all Muslim majority nations have opposed India. Have you heard of the Muslim vote bank? But it is not just cynical vote bank politics. It is also idiocy. There are media reports that Israel wants about 100,000 Indian workers to replace the Palestinians who used to work in farms and factories. Left leaning trade unions have demanded that India must reject the idea out of hand. Why? For solidarity with Palestinian workers of course.
Repeated surveys done by CVoter have demonstrated that ordinary Indians bury political differences over one issue: terrorism. They are simply revolted by it. Does anyone think the same votes will support the Left that supports a terror outfit like Hamas? No wonder the Left is becoming increasingly irrelevant in electoral politics. But they they are still a threat. In India and elsewhere, the Left maybe losing electoral relevance. But they have such a stranglehold over discourse through mainstream media, academia and activism that it is frightening.
This is the personal opinion of the author. The views expressed in this write-up have nothing to do with www.prameyanews.com.