New Delhi: The central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), its highest decision-making body, on Tuesday decided against nominating party general secretary Sitaram Yechury for a third consecutive Rajya Sabha term, a top leader said.
While most leaders from Bengal wanted him to be fielded for a third term, a majority of the members felt that Mr Yechury, who is also the CPM’s general secretary, should work to meet the challenges the party is facing.
The CPM does not allow anyone to be a Rajya Sabha member beyond two consecutive terms and Mr Yechury’s second Rajya Sabha term from Bengal ends next month.
Those who favored a third term for Mr Yechury, argued that he is one of the most well-known and articulate faces of the party in Parliament. At a time when the Left is losing popular support even in its traditional stronghold like West Bengal, Mr Yechury brings the Left to national relevance and so must continue to front for the Left in Parliament, they said.
But those opposed to a third term for the party chief pointed out that he cannot return to Parliament on his own party’s strength and will need support from the Congress’ 44 legislators in the Bengal assembly. Members from Kerala, led Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said the party cannot take support from the Congress, the CPM’s chief political rival in the state. There were also some reservations within the Bengal Congress regarding support to Mr Yechury, sources said.
Elections will be held for six Rajya Sabha seats from Bengal next month. After sweeping last year’s assembly election, Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress can win five with ease.
With 44 lawmakers, the Congress can win the sixth seat on their own but has said it may not field anyone if Mr Yechury seeks to return to the Rajya Sabha. The Left Front, delegated to a humiliating third spot in the assembly elections, has only 32 lawmakers and needs 43 to win. It can only make it with Congress support.
The CPM Politburo could not decide whether the party should make an exception for Sitaram Yechury and allow him a third term, so left it to the central committee to take a decision.