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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

CPI(M) may go unrepresented from Bengal in RS after April next year

Trade union leader Tapan Kumar Sen, whose term expires on April 2, 2018, is currently the lone representative of the left party from West Bengal.

india Updated: Sep 17, 2017 16:57 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has been denied Rajya Sabha nomination from West Bengal by the party
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury has been denied Rajya Sabha nomination from West Bengal by the party(PTI file photo )

The Bengal unit of the CPI(M) which has sent to Rajya Sabha many brilliant speakers, may go unrepresented in the Upper House of the Parliament from April next year.

With its general secretary Sitaram Yechury being denied a third term in the house of elders from West Bengal despite assured Congress support and young RS member Ritabrata Banerjee expelled from the party, currently the lone CPI(M) representative from West Bengal in the RS is trade union leader Tapan Kumar Sen.

Sen, the national general secretary of CPI(M)’s trade union wing CITU, is serving his second term in the RS, which is scheduled to end on April 2 next year.

If that happens, it will be a big blow to the party which had ruled the state uninterruptedly for 34 years before being dethroned by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in 2011.

There will be none from the party in the Rajya Sabha to highlight Bengal- specific issues especially about attacks on party workers by the ruling TMC.

“We will have to depend on our Rajya Sabha members from Kerala and Tripura to raise such issues. For them their own states will surely be their first priority,” a central committee member of the CPI (M) said on condition of anonymity.

Besides Yechury, some of the other prominent CPI(M) representatives from West Bengal were party theoretician Nilotpal Basu, prominent trade union leaders Chittabrata Majumdar and Dipankar Mukherjee and former West Bengal finance minister Ashok Mitra.

CPI(M) insiders admitted that had the dyed- in- the wool faction of the party not opposed giving another term to Yechury, it could at least have one forceful voice in the house.

“Probably, keeping this in mind, the party gave Ritabrata, enough opportunity to fall in line. But his deliberate and continuing breach of discipline made his expulsion inevitable. The party has never gone through such a pathetic state in West Bengal in the past,” said the central committee member.

Now the only faint option of getting a CPI(M) candidate elected to the Rajya Sabha would be through Congress support. The Left Front does not have the requisite strength in the state assembly to ensure the victory of a CPI(M) candidate.

But there are too many ifs and buts for such an eventuality. The first hitch is whether the party’s central committee will at all allow an understanding with the Congress on this issue.

Considering the current scenario in the CPI(M) politburo and central committee, where the conservative faction outnumbers the liberals, any such proposal from the Bengal unit would be definitely turned down as was done in case of re-nomination of Yechury.

Secondly, there is a big question mark on whether the Congress will at all agree to back a CPI(M) candidate sacrificing someone from within the party after the Yechury issue.

“That possibility is quite unlikely. Now getting reduced to a zero in the Rajya Sabha is inevitable for the Bengal CPI (M),” admitted the central committee member.

First Published: Sep 17, 2017 16:57 IST

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