Why the CPI(M) should allow Sitaram Yechury another term in Rajya Sabha
The CPI(M) has a rule that no candidate may contest a Rajya Sabha seat after two terms. But Sitaram Yechury may be the CPI(M)’s best chance to beat Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congressopinion Updated: Jun 05, 2017 11:54 IST
The history of CPI(M) is marred with blunders, bigger blunders and historic blunders. If the party doesn’t field general secretary Sitaram Yechury in the upcoming biennial poll for an unprecedented third term, it may commit one more such mistake.
For those who are not following the Rajya Sabha polls closely: six seats from West Bengal, including that of Yechury, will face 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.
The Congress has indicated it can support Yechury. CPI(M)’s state unit wants him for another term. But there’s an archaic rule in the capital’s Kremlin that no comrade can contest in Rajya Sabha after two terms.
The CPI(M) politburo, which will meet on June 6-7, will take the call on the nomination. But it’s time, the politburo throw that rule in the trash bin. If Yechury is stopped from contesting, the first fallout would be that the Congress may not support CPI(M) and the seat will go to arch rival Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. When the CPI(M) is fighting for its survival against the Trinamool onslaught, can it hand over the seat on a platter to Didi?
Some purists of the CPI(M) may object to the party joining hands with the Congress, a class enemy, for an electoral fight. Well, the Bengal unit had committed all such “sins” just last year in the assembly elections and some local polls. Time and again, many exasperated CPI(M) leaders have dubbed Banerjee’s Trinamool as communal. So, shouldn’t the CPI(M) try to do everything possible to contain the Trinamool in Parliament?
The two-term rule can apply in Kerala, Tripura or other states but certainly not in West Bengal in the current political situation. Yechury is not just any other Left leader. He is the general secretary of the party. A party chief representing the biggest battlefield for the party has immense significance. He can not only talk on national issues, but can be the best voice to raise issues of the state. It adds to the value of the Bengal CPI(M) in the national arena.
And finally, Sitaram Yechury is not just a Left leader in the Rajya Sabha. Over the years, he has emerged as a key Opposition strategist, and the leader of the entire Left bloc in Parliament. Yechury has been playing important roles in Opposition coordination, floor strategy and onslaught against the Narendra Modi government. As the general secretary of the party, he commands a special respect as well. It will be difficult for any other comrade to replace Yechury.
Many Opposition leaders see merit in a third term for Yechury. But will the CPI(M) see the writing on the wall?