United CPM emerges stronger, big battle ahead: General secretary Yechury
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United CPM emerges stronger, big battle ahead: General secretary Yechury

Sitaram Yechury pledges to work for the ouster of the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha election to guard the “secular democratic foundations” of India.

india Updated: Apr 23, 2018 07:20 IST
Saubhadra Chatterji
Saubhadra Chatterji
Hindustan Times, Hyderabad
Communist Party of India (Marxist),Sitaram Yechury,Lok Sabha election
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury with Tripura former chief minister Manik Sarkar at the party’s Congress session in Hyderabad on Sunday. (PTI Photo)

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) on Sunday unanimously re-elected Sitaram Yechury the general secretary for another three years, putting up a show of unity after a bitter debate over political tie-ups.

The 65-year-old Yechury pledged to work for the ouster of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2019 Lok Sabha election to guard the “secular democratic foundations” of India. “We had momentous congress. The message which will go out is that the united CPI(M) has emerged stronger, and is determined to change the destiny of India,” Yechury said in his address to the 22nd party congress that concluded Sunday.

Yechury might have gone into the party’s biggest gathering a little uncertain over his future but not only did he keep his position, he also got his way on keeping the option of an understanding with the Congress party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election.

In his 10-minute acceptance speech, Yechury used the words “unity” and “united” 12 times to drive home the point that the bitter wrangling with his predecessor, Prakash Karat, over political line was now in the past. His message perhaps was also aimed at a section that tried to prop up former Tripura chief minister Manik Sarkar as his alternative.

Read | When CPI(M) had a ‘pact’ with Congress in 2004

Defeating the “BJP-RSS government” was the main task and “there is a big battle ahead”, said Yechury, whose election was approved by the Left party’s newly-elected 95-member central committee. “We are declaring to the country and to the whole world that we will not allow secular democratic foundations of India to be torn asunder by these communal forces and India shall remain united,” he said.

Vijoo Krishnan, Mariam Dhawale and Sujan Chakraborty were among the 20 new central committee entrants, giving the top executive panel a younger look. A seat has been kept vacant for a woman candidate. The central committee also elected a 17-member politburo. CITU general secretary Tapan Sen and CPI(M) central committee member Nilotpal Basu were two new entrants. Ashok Dhawale, the brain behind the farmers ‘Long March’ in Maharashtra, was tipped to be in politburo but a section of leaders was opposed to expanding the party’s policy-making body.

Re-election of Yechury, who enjoys a good equation with leaders across parties, will allow the CPI(M) to explore the possibility of a broad coalition with the Congress and other opposition outfits.

But critics are not too hopeful about his ability to turnaround the party, which has only 11 members in the Lok Sabha and has seen its political space shrink rapidly. “I don’t think this new leadership would be able to revive the CPI (M). Yechury is part of the problem as he protected leaders and stalled efforts of rectification,” former party member Prasenjit Bose said.

First Published: Apr 22, 2018 22:52 IST