Kolkata: The CPM will have no MP from Bengal in the Rajya Sabha from April 2018 unless the party chooses to send a leader from the state to Upper House when legislator Tapan Kumar Sen retires. The CPM did not allow general secretary Sitaram Yechury a third term in the Rajya Sabha as it goes against the two-term policy of the Left party. Ritabrata Banerjee, a Rajya Sabha MP from Bengal, has been expelled from the CPM. His term ends in 2020 but he is no longer a legislator from the Left party.
Sen, the only current CPM member from Bengal in the Upper House, is the national general secretary of CITU, the party’s trade union wing. This is his second term. “Something will have to be worked out. There is no cause for concern for workers in Bengal. However, we have our comrades from Kerala and Tripura to raise issues in the Rajya Sabha. It would be a crucial year for us in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls and already the ruling party (in Bengal) has resorted to atrocities on our cadres,” said a senior state secretariat member.
The CPM has six MPs in Rajya Sabha — Jharna Das Baidya (Tripura), C P Narayanan (Kerala), K K Ragesh (Kerala), K Somaparasad (Kerala), T K Rangarajan (Tamil Nadu), Sen, (West Bengal). A section of the party believes that by not renominating Yechury to the Rajya Sabha with the Congress’s willing support, the party lost one of its best speakers. “Then we had Ritabrata Bandopadhyay, who too was a good speaker. That is why we gave him enough opportunity to rectify himself. But he went ahead and tarnished the image of the party by speaking to the media. Therefore, the state unit was forced to take action,” said a leader of the CPM from Bengal said.
A section of the party hopes that after Sen’s term expires, the party top brass will try to seek the Congress’s backing to send someone from Bengal to the Rajya Sabha. The Left Front lacks the numbers in the Assembly to unilaterally send someone to the Upper House. “There are a lot of ifs and buts, whether our party top brass would consider the option or dismiss such a proposal like they did in the case of Yechury’s renomination. Also we have to see whether the Congress agrees. There is a lot of anxiety in the party rank and file,” a CPM leader from Bengal said.