RS polls: CPM decides against third term for Yechury

RS polls: CPM decides against third term for Yechury

RS polls: CPM decides against third term for Yechury

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury will not return to Rajya Sabha for a third term after party's Central Committee (CC) on Tuesday rejected a demand to get him elected from West Bengal with the support of Congress.

Four hours of acrimonious discussion in Central Committee and subsequent voting exposed deep fissures in the party after Bengal unit vociferously brought the issue to CC even as Polit Bureau (PB) twice rejected the proposal.

While around 45-50 CC members "raised their hands" against fielding Yechury in the Rajya Sabha polls during an unprecedented voting, around 25-30 supported the idea after Bengal leaders argued that if they do not use this opportunity, the party would go unrepresented in Rajya Sabha from West Bengal after three years.

They also argued that if Yechury is elected unopposed, then there is no question of taking Congress votes. Another argument was the prominence Yechury getting in Opposition politics and they believed that his presence in Parliament would further enhance the party’s position nationally.

A senior leader described the decision not to field Yechury as "another historic blunder", alluding to Jyoti Basu's description of the 1996 decision not to allow him to take the Prime Ministership in the United Front government.

A section led by Polit Bureau member Prakash Karat was adamant that they should not go ahead with getting Yechury elected with the support of Congress. They argued that it was also not proper that the party General Secretary himself getting elected with Congress support, violating Party Congress decision not to have electoral understanding or alliance with that party.

Yechury, whose term ends on August 18 along with five other MPs from West Bengal, told both the PB and CC hat he is not willing to contest as it is against the party norms of not allowing more than two terms. On Sunday, the Polit Bureau had again rejected the proposal of Bengal unit to renominate Yechury for a third time.

Elections to six Rajya Sabha seats would be held on August 8 in which Trinamool Congress can win five seats but CPI(M) does not have enough MLAs in West Bengal Assembly to win the sixth seat on its own. Congress has expressed its willingness to support if CPI(M) fields Yechury.

Sources said leaders like Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar were of the view that even if it is necessary to send Yechury to Parliament, it should be from Kerala or Tripura where the party is in power.

Asked whether the Left would fight the Rajya Sabha elections, a senior CPI(M) leader told DH that the Left Front leaders in Bengal would take a call.

Sources said what stand the party would take if the Left decides not to field a candidate and Congress choose Meira Kumar, the joint Opposition candidate the party, as its nominee from West Bengal. "After voting in favour of Kumar in Presidential polls, how can we not support her if we are not fighting?" they said.

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