New Delhi: It was a usual diplomatic episode when India had sought quicker extradition of Kim Peter Davis, alias Niels Holck, from Denmark.
This was flagged off when Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen was in India and was holding bilateral talks with her Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi. She also hailed Modi as an 'inspiration', and both sides held significant parleys on green politics in Afghanistan.
The Kim Davy issue brings into focus the good old Congress-Communists relationship in India. Leftist forces have, directly and indirectly, backed Indira Gandhi more than once, notwithstanding Sanjay Gandhi's explicit dislike for Communists. Even till the mid-1990s, the Left was a strong force, and for five years, they again dominated the scene from 2004 to 2009.
On December 17, 1995, a large consignment of illegal arms, including AK-47 rifles and ammunition, were dropped from an Antonov An-26 aircraft and was scattered in the Purulia district of West Bengal. One need not go into the merits of the allegation that Congress had conspired to oust the erstwhile Jyoti Basu government in West Bengal. Congress was looking for an excuse to impose President's Rule. The Maxists' forte was too strong, and of course, Basu was a powerful and popular leader in his state.
But things have changed a lot since then. Now the Congress party's base has shrunk, and Communists have vanished from West Bengal. The CPI-M could be ever a 'Zero-MLA' strong or weak party in Bengal was out of imagination. But this has happened. In 2021 assembly elections, both the CPI(M)-led Left Front and Congress strength in the 294-member state legislature has been reduced to zero.
Now, it is Mamata Banerjee occupying the space. Importantly, she is seen as 'more Left than the Left', so she thrives. Her outfit – a splinter organisation from the 'mother' Congress, is now trying to enhance footprints in different parts of India, including far off Goa.
In general, over the last few years, Congress has lost its base across the country. But in the process, the grand old party of India has turned 'more Left'; and in more ways than one. It started with the JNU protest in 2015 and also on other issues. Rahul Gandhi is trying to emulate the language of the comrades.
Here comes the new challenge. Trying to fashion a 'modern pro-communist' look cannot see the growth. Hence, as and when the Indian National Congress and Communist growths are discussed, we must see why both have lost ground.
This brings us to debate a very important chapter of Indian politics. The shrinkage of bases by Congress and Communists has also largely created grounds for the growth of the BJP. Even the rise of regionalist stars like Mamata Banerjee has been typical reasoning for poor performance 'by the Congress and the communists.
In 2021 polls, Trinamool's 200 plus haul would not have been possible had not Congress and Leftists lost all their seats.
This downward slippery journey of Indian communists and Congress is now a reality. The decline is not only electoral but also in exerting influence on the sociopolitical mindset.
In the regions where they are losing their grip, the pro-Hindu BJP has gained ground, — of course, the rise of the 'Moditva phenomenon'. The BJP, with its commitment to Hindutva, is now the major opponent of Mamata Banerjee in Bengal. It won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats three years back, and it came to power in Tripura by ousting its communist government in another red bastion. There is yet another important lesson of politics.
The BJP's 'growing support base' in Kerala also means dwindling popularity for Kerala's two traditional political alliances — UDF (led by the Congress) and the other LDF, led by leftists.
Comrade Pinarayi Vijayan has tinted the communists' red flag with the hues of saffron, the colour associated with Hinduism. In other words, he is taking care not to 'offend' the Hindu sentiment with the so-called progressive communist ideas. The Leftists are good at giving a spin, and thus they may describe this move as pragmatism.
What could happen if Kim Davy is extradited would be debated another day. The Marxists in the southern state of Kerala have sparked off a 'power struggle' between Kerala's two dominant minorities — the Muslims and the Christians.