Analysis: Why CPI(M) needs Sitaram Yechury in Rajya Sabha
Once again, the West Bengal brigade of the CPI(M) has floated a plan to send party general secretary Sitaram Yechury to Rajya Sabha.
Some of its leaders, albeit preferring anonymity (as it happens in regimented scheme of things in the crumbling outfit) have told select news organizations that Yehcury should be the candidate in the upcoming biennial polls.
As many as five Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal will see election in April. The ruling Trinamool is expected to win four of them and if the Congress and the Left comes together, they would be in a position to grab the fifth seat.
The renewed appeal of the Bengal comes when the Left’s crisis in the state is clearly reflected in Parliament. It has no member from the state in either Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. The shortage of strength has coupled with lack of a strong voice of the Left in Parliament when the Opposition is facing an unprecedented challenge from the mighty BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the national political theatre.
Last time, Yechury’s name was proposed for Rajya Sabha was in 2017 when the Left and Congress had a chance to send their collective nominee and Congress brass, especially Sonia and Rahul Gandhi were open to support Yechury.
But the CPI(M) lived up to its reputation of committing blunders, bigger blunders and historic blunders. The party didn’t field Yechury on the ground that he has already enjoyed two terms in the House. There’s a party rule that no member can be given more than two terms in Rajya Sabha.
Just as many of its archaic notions has done no good to the party, this rule too, may find its place in the dustbin of history. When the party is in its historic low tally in Parliament, its footprint reduced to a few patches and its struggling to retain its national party status, its no time to cite rules or settle personal grudges to stop Yechury from going to Parliament one more time.
If Yechury is stopped, the Congress may bag another seat or worse: the Trinamool may get the fifth seat too. So, if the CPIM wants to remain as a political party and not become a political NGO (selflessly helping other parties to prosper) it has little option but to nominate Yechury.
Moreover, Yechury is the general secretary of the party and if he represents Bengal - where the party’s vote bank has seen the biggest shift towards the BJP in the last Lok Sabha polls, he can possibly be the best voice of the state CPI(M) in Parliament.
It will definitely strengthen the Left’s presence in the House and also boost the Opposition in the House where its unity has been badly fractured.
Of all the national parties, the CPI(M) is the only one as many as nine members of the politburo - party’s elite club of decision-makers - don’t fight elections. Time has also come for all of them to face the electoral test or make more space for party warhorses who are baptised by the sweat and blood of fighting Indian elections.