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CPI(M) faces Congress conundrum over Yechury’s RS re-election

Party’s unit in Kerala, where the Congress is a rival, against taking outside help for polls on Bengal RS seat

india Updated: Jun 07, 2017 14:49 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Congress,Left,Sitaram Yechury
CPI(M) needs Congress’s support for its senior leader Sitaram Yechury’s re-election from Bengal.(PTI FILE PHOTO)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) appears headed for a new face-off on Wednesday between its Kerala and Bengal units over an old issue: To be or not to be with the Congress.

The Kerala unit of the party is learnt to be reluctant to allow the Bengal lobby to take the help of Congress, a foe in the southern state, in the Rajya Sabha elections.

While the Congress leadership has informally agreed to support Sitaram Yechury’s candidature, many within the CPI(M) have objected to a third term for Yechury, citing a party rule that bars any member from getting a third term in the Upper House.

Politburo sources said the decision on the Rajya Sabha polls will be taken on Wednesday.

The Bengal unit has recommended only Yechury’s name as the candidate, but the CPI(M) general secretary has indicated that he will be bound by the party’s rules.

Kerala general-secretary and politburo member Kodiyari Balakrishnan has indicated that they don’t want any pact with the Congress, when he issued a statement a few days before the politburo meeting.

If Yechury is stopped from contesting, the Congress may not support the CPI(M) and the seat will go to arch rival Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress.

Six seats from West Bengal, including that of Yechury, are up for election in July.

As things stand today, Trinamool Congress is sure to win five seats and the CPI(M) can retain its slot, provided the Congress supports the communists.

First Published: Jun 07, 2017 14:49 IST