CPM mulls third term for Sitaram Yechury

The Asian Age.

India, All India

There are 6 seats from Bengal for which elections are due on August 8.

Sitaram Yechury

New Delhi: His role as chief strategist for a united Opposition against the Modi-led BJP government at the Centre, his role in pushing the candidature of Gopalkrishna Gandhi as the Opposition’s vice-presidential nominee as well as the need for the Marxist party to have a face when its Parliament tally was at its lowest are among the achievements being cited at the CPI(M) central committee meeting to push for a third term in the Upper House for party general secretary Sitaram Yechury.

Though the party politburo, citing party rules, decided against the third term at its meeting on Sunday, the issue is under discussion at the central committee, the party’s highest decision making body, as the Bengal faction wants Mr Yechury to get a third term.

The CPM has a rule barring its MPs from standing for the Upper House for a third term in order to give younger leaders a chance. Last month Mr Yechury himself ruled out a third term, saying that, as general secretary, he cannot violate the rule.

Apart from being at the forefront of efforts to cobble together an Opposition alliance to take on the BJP in the presidential and vice-presidential polls, Mr Yechury is also coordinating on various other issues, including bringing all Opposition parties together on the farmers’ issue. The CPI(M) on its own does not have the adequate strength in West Bengal to get an RS seat, but the Congress has shown willingness to transfer its votes to get a CPI(M) candidate elected on the condition that it is Mr Yechury.

However, a section of the party is unwilling to accept the Congress’ as the two parties are bitter rivals in the state.

The argument being given by the faction which supports Mr Yechury is that in case the party general secretary does not get a third term, then the CPI(M) would have no representation from Bengal after 2020. The CPM won 26 seats in the Assembly elections in 2016, leaving it short of the required numbers to nominate a member to the Rajya Sabha. Its last member in Rajya Sabha will retire in 2020.

Sources said that all these aspects are being discussed threadbare at the three-day central committee meeting, which began on Monday, and the issue of third term would be put to vote which is likely to go in Me Yechury’s favour as the Bengal faction has a major representation in the central committee.