New Delhi, Apr 8 : Rahul Gandhi’s decision to contest from Wayanad in Kerala and the discomfort caused in the communists camp suggest in clearer manner that the Congress-Leftists relations have come a full circle in more ways than one. In fact, BJP’s backroom strategists also rejoice about it as this could intensify Congress-Left rift. It was way back in 1959 - exactly 60 years back - the first communist elected government headed by
EMS Namboodiripad government was dismissed in Kerala by the Nehru government. A section of BJP leaders say Rahul Gandhi’s move also reflects ‘internal bickering’ in the Congress especially in its Kerala unit and also talks about the ‘intensity’ of the cold war between Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury factions in the CPI-M.
“One Left leader based in Delhi told us Rahul Gandhi took a rather whimsical decision largely following pressure from a Kerala faction in Congress and also because he has developed cold feet about Amethi,” one BJP leader said. Mr Gandhi has sought out a minority dominated constituency because he fears Hindu anger in the North, especially in Uttar Pradesh.
The BJP leaders say – the CPI-M and CPI leaders feel ‘ditched’ by sheer display of ‘opportunism’ by the Congress. “This has happened a number of times between Congress and communists, it is none of our business. But this time the intensity is high. Some communists think to an extent that Sonia Gandhi-Rahul duo has been ungrateful as it was the communists that played the role of an anchor in ensuring a Congress-led UPA dispensation in 2004,” the source said.
Sanjay Gandhi later developed his "dislike" for communists so much that once angered with Youth Congress from Kerala, he had once told Vayalar Ravi and others, "you all are behaving like communists". Several BJP leaders also discuss in private these days on how the Congress felt anguished when the CPI-M and other left parties sided with V P Singh in the campaign on Bofors and which later was also joined by the BJP. “V P Singh government did not last long. But it is a fact, the corruption allegation stuck with the Congress and for the first time it was related to defence deals and affected the Late Rajiv Gandhi whose image in initial days in politics was that of Mr Clean,” the source said.
There have been other instances also. In 2008, the anguished Left parties withdrew support to the Manmohan Singh government over the Nuclear Deal with the United States. The bitterness in relationship could not have come at any worse time. Thanks to Nandigram and Singur, the Left Front government headed by Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee was at all time low in popularity graph.
The Congress easily walked into the arms of Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and thus the communists rule came to an end in their own bastion. The Leftists had presumed that at least a triangular contest could have helped them make some damage control. In retrospective effect, old timers among socialist leaders also say that the Left, particularly the CPI, had helped Indira Gandhi wrest power from the Syndicate during the Congress split in the 1960s. The CPI became an official ally of the Congress and only till the Emergency when excesses made by Sanjay Gandhi and others angered the communists. But the CPI got marginalised slowly and the CPI-M became the bigger 'Left brother'.
The joyous mood in the BJP camp vis-a-vis Congress ‘mistakes’ in the run-up to the elections could be judged well from the remarks of Arun Jaitley. Asked to comment on Robert Vadra plunging into the campaign, Mr Jaitely said rather in a tongue-in-cheek fashion: “I don't know if this will be an asset for the campaign of Congress party or for the campaign of BJP”. Similarly, about Mr Gandhi’s Wayanad decision – that will help him probably ‘easily’ a seat in the next Lok Sabha; BJP poll managers feel - Rahul Gandhi might have hurt long term Congress prospects.
“We are happy about Rahul’s flight to the safest seat which has overwhelming Muslim presence. The Congress revival therefore looks remote as Hindus now know pretty where his heart is,” a party leader said. To be specific on that, BJP leaders say the 'polarisation' of voters have already taken place. “Sonia Gandhi could be an unhappy leader, but also an unhappy mother. She had given leadership to Congress a time when people were leaving the Congress. Now as she nears her retirement, the Congress is again witness to desertion. In Gujarat, the revival hint of December 2017 has died a natural death,” said a Gujarat Congress leader – who lately shifted allegiance to the saffron camp. (UNI)