CPI(M)’s Bengal unit wants Yechury back in RS

The furore over a third term for Sitaram Yechury in Rajya Sabha refuses to die down in CPI(M) with its West Bengal unit insisting that the party General Secretary should contest the elections with the support of Congress.

The West Bengal state leadership has told the Polit Bureau to give an exemption to Yechury in current circumstances as his election from the state is important for its fight against Trinamool Congress and BJP.

This comes despite Yechury ruling himself out, saying he himself cannot violate party rules of not allowing more than two terms, and a section of the leadership opposing any truck with the Congress.

sitaram-yechury

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi has offered support to CPI(M) in the Rajya Sabha elections from Bengal if it fielded Yechury, whose term as a representative from Bengal in the Upper House ends in August. CPI(M) with 26 MLAs do not have enough votes to win the seat alone.

If CPI(M) does not change its stand, Congress will field its own candidate. Sources said the retiring Congress MP P Bhattacharya has met senior leaders who clearly conveyed to him that the party could think of re-nominating him only if CPI(M) decides against fielding Yechury.

Yechury’s second term in the Upper House will end along with five others from West Bengal this August and CPI(M) with 26 MLAs is not in a position to win on its own votes even if fields a candidate of its own. However, Congress can get its one nominee elected even if it fights alone. However, Trinamool Congress is upset with Congress over its support to Yechury.

Sources said the Bengal unit has written to the Polit Bureau that the norms should be changed for Yechury citing that it was done in some exceptional cases earlier. The Polit Bureau is likely to discuss the issue in its meeting in the first week of June but party leaders feel that there would be no change in the state.

They believe it could lead to a confrontation with the Bengal unit, which is at loggerheads with the central leadership over the “electoral understanding” it has with Congress. “This is an exceptional scenario. We need a leader like Yechury there. The Congress is supporting us. Hope they don’t repeat the historic blunder,” a senior CPI(M) leader said.

(An edited version appeared in Deccan Herald on May 25, 2017)

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