To be very frank, I have never experienced the Leftist politics first hand. Whatever I have read in books, written by right wingers, leaves an impression that though there is less corruption at the top level in the party, but, at the local level, they institutionalize corruption through local police; i.e., the bribe collected by the police fill up the party coffers — and most probably the same system is continuing even now in WB under Mamta Banerjee.
Anyways, the purpose of this article is not to criticize the Left. I think the Left by losing WB has opened up an opportunity for itself. The Congress and the Left have been the traditional opponents. In fact, the IB, which is by far the most rogue government agency in India, from its very inception had a bias against the communists and favored Hindutva. Both M. K. Dhar and T. V. Rajeshwar have admitted in their books that the IB training was oriented towards Hindutva and against the communists. In fact, T. V. Rajeshwar has also mentioned that the new recruits in the IB were sent to communists ruled states to get the first hand experience of the enemy territory. And all this happened when the Congress was in power, and the BJP was nowhere in the picture, though the Jan Sangh did exist. In M. K. Dhar’s book, it also becomes pretty clear that there was a strong bias in favor of Kashmiri Pandits/Brahmins in the Congress. So, all the characteristics we generally associate with the BJP/RSS have originated actually in the Congress. Incidentally, both these officers were pretty close to Indira Gandhi, so they can’t be blamed of bias against the Congress either.
But, has the Congress changed? The answer is a clear no. Rather, under Rahul Gandhi, the Congress has become disoriented. On the surface, he can be seen promoting socialism, but deep inside, he, like his father, has opened up the party to the corporate, which is a clear invitation to trouble. I think he is trying to emulate the AAP, who have successfully used marketing genius to capture power in Delhi, and he is now relying upon the genius of Prashant Kishore and Co. to do wonders. No mature politician would take such a huge risk when the bare existence of the party is in question. Post 2014 was actually the time for the Congress to take baby steps, but their arrogance just like that of a kid can’t let them grow. The Congress is on the verge of its demise. They are not smart, but they are nevertheless arrogant. So, the obvious future for them is further obliteration.
The Congress’ natural replacement at this point of time is the AAP. They are mostly like the Congress sans the notoriety of corruption and arrogance. They are the darlings of the corporate media. They have made inroads into the voter base of the urban poor by fooling them with the promise of socialism. They have support of some very intelligent professionals. They are in sync with times and technological developments. And, contrary to general perception, they have a steady inflow of funds as well. With little efforts, they can easily replace Modi’s aura with that of Kejriwal or whoever else. So, they are the best candidate to represent the corporate in the political spectrum. Of course, they will replace the Congress sooner or later unless the Congress sheds arrogance.
However, whether the AAP or the Congress, it still leaves a void, which only the Left can fill. Their humiliating defeat in the WB have left them free to ally with the TMC at the national level; so, unlike the Congress, they are not political pariah — whatever the personal enmity of leaders, the party politics ensure coalitions at the end of the day. I think, after securing Kerala, they now have a strong opportunity to strike at the national level. They have strong presence in the English media. They have enough party strength to take on social media. Unlike the AAP, they also have experience in violence. And they generally enjoy good relationship amongst the regional parties. Furthermore, it seems the time has come to throw out the Brahmanism of the Congress and the BJP, and in which the Left is in the best position to strike. This opens up an opportunity for the Left. Though the Left has been marginalized to only two states in India, out of which Tripura is a minnow, it still has substantial presence amongst the intellectuals. I think the Left intellectuals are highly insecure people else the Left would have been a national party in its true sense: the status in the Leftist paradigm is decided on subjective factors like appreciation by peers, governmental recognition, political approval, etc., therefore, the intellectuals are left at the mercy of the political leadership and don’t take active part in strategic decision making. Also, it seems the Leftist intellectuals are lazy and not in sync with the time. Therefore, in spite of such a dispersed and wide spread presence in the country, they have not been able to provide guidance to the rank and file of the party. Indeed, the intellectual leadership of the party needs freedom from the political leadership. Nevertheless, the recent defeat of the Left has opened up an opportunity for the Leftist intellectuals to give direction to the Leftist politics.
The biggest threat to the Left comes from the RSS’ IB and the police in general. Of course, the first thing the Left would do if they were to come to power would be to margianalize/overhaul/shelve the IB, and the IB also knows it well enough. But the Left obviously can’t fight the forces with their political workers unless the Left means and includes Maoism, which the IB anyways mean and include when they think of the Left.
P.S. However, the Left’s emulation of the AAP or closeness to the AAP will be suicide.