New Delhi, India - July 19, 2017: CPI(M) leader Sita Ram Yechuri talking to media during the monsoon session of the parliament in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (Photo by Sushil Kumar/ Hindustan Times)(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)
New Delhi, India - July 19, 2017: CPI(M) leader Sita Ram Yechuri talking to media during the monsoon session of the parliament in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, July 19, 2017. (Photo by Sushil Kumar/ Hindustan Times)(Sushil Kumar/HT PHOTO)

Yechury denied third term in Rajya Sabha by CPI(M)’s Kerala lobby

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan was among the party leaders opposed to the proposal of sending Yechury to the Upper House.
By Saubhadra Chatterji | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 26, 2017 07:20 AM IST

The CPI(M) on Tuesday denied its general secretary Sitaram Yechury an unprecedented third term in the Rajya Sabha even as the West Bengal unit vehemently supported his candidature.

There is a general rule in the party that no leader will be given more than two terms in the RS. In the age-old turf war between the Kerala and the West Bengal lobby of the party, Yechury stood defeated as Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, party’s former general secretary Prakash Karat and other leaders from the southern state opposed the proposal of sending Yechury to the Upper House, where he played a major role in the Opposition camp, with the support of the Congress.

Sources said that in the Central Committee meeting, Vijayan maintained that if the Left had been in a position, Yechury’s candidature could have been considered. Leaders from Tripura also batted for Yechury. The West Bengal leadership argued that during UPA rule too, Kerala CPI(M) didn’t suffer even as the party gave outside support to the Congress-led government.

“The proposal to send Yechury has been negated. We will talk to Congress to field a common candidate,” said a senior leader.

Six seats from West Bengal, including that of Yechury, will face election soon. Trinamool Congress may win five seats and the CPI(M) can retain its slot, with Congress support. The Congress, willing to support Yechury, refrained from announcing its candidate from Bengal.

Yechury, a key Opposition strategist and the leader of the Left bloc in Parliament, has been playing key roles in floor strategy and onslaught against the Narendra Modi government.

As party general secretary, he commanded a special respect as well. A section of the Opposition feels it may be difficult to replace him. The party resorted to a rare vote by raising hands to decide its candidate for Rajya Sabha.

In the Central Committee, the strength of the Bengal lobby is far less than that of Kerala.

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