NEW DELHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM,JULY 26, 2017 21:49 IST
UPDATED: JULY 26, 2017 21:52 IST
CPI(M) panel rejects Bengal unit’s plea
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has rejected the proposal of the West Bengal State Committee to offer party general secretary Sitaram Yechury a third term in the Rajya Sabha and asked the Bengal unit to either pick an Independent candidate acceptable to the entire Opposition there or go it alone in the Rajya Sabha election.
At the Central Committee, there was almost a 50:30 vote against a third term for Mr. Yechury. Voting became necessary when the Central Committee members from Bengal insisted on a division. The CPI(M) Polit Bureau had, on June 7, decided that Mr. Yechury should not contest for a third time, in keeping with the party convention.
The Bengal State Committee had wanted an exception for Mr. Yechury, given the Congress offer of support . The Kerala group was, however, in favour of continuing with the convention and full compliance with the 21st CPI(M) Party Congress decision against any understanding with the Congress.
Mr. Yechury told presspersons: “The CPI(M) had fixed a two-term norm to ensure a flow of leadership. Our principles are more important for us.”
EXCLUSIVE: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan against CPM chief Sitaram Yechury getting another term in Rajya Sabha
“Accepting the Congress support to send our party general secretary to the Rajya Sabha would be against and not in accordance with the political stand we have been adopting,” Pinarayi Vijayan, also a member of party Politburo, told The Indian Express in an exclusive interview.
Written byLiz Mathew| New Delhi |Updated: July 25, 2017 2:30 pm
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ruled out the possibility of the party agreeing to elect Yechury from West Bengal with the support of the Congress. Express Photo/Tashi Tobgyal
“Accepting the Congress support to send our party general secretary to the Rajya Sabha would be against and not in accordance with the political stand we have been adopting,” Vijayan, also a member of party Politburo, told The Indian Express in an exclusive interview.Even as the Central Committee, the apex decision making body of the CPI(M), discusses a third Rajya Sabha term for party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ruled out the possibility of the party agreeing to elect Yechury from West Bengal with the support of the Congress.
Vijayan added that Yechury, being the general secretary of the CPI(M), would not be able to do justice to his role as parliamentarian as his party responsibility involves travelling across the country for party works. “From my experience, I can tell you, a party general secretary naturally cannot take care of the responsibilities of a parliamentarian. Because he (being a general secretary) has to run across the country to play his role. Those who are seeking his presence in Rajya Sabha want it so because he is efficient. It is true that he is efficient, but he cannot compromise on his other role,” he reasoned, adding the “party does not want him to make any compromise on his role as a general secretary”.
Yechury was elected as the CPI(M) general secretary in 2015.
Asked about the view that Yechury’s presence in the house is crucial at a time when the Opposition should be united against the BJP like in 2004, Vijayan said: “The CPI(M) had to back the Congress at a time when the country faced misery after (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee ran a government of RSS-led BJP for six years. The country could not afford to see another five-year term for that government because it would have even damaged India’s parliamentary democracy. We had to avert that danger and the CPI(M) decided to support the Congress-led UPA on the basis of a common minimum program.”
“However, we know what happened and we know what kind of a stand the Congress had adopted. It was the anti-people stance of the Congress that had led to the emergence of BJP into power. We are not ready to have any kind of political alliance or friendship with such a party. Accepting the Congress support to send our party general secretary to the Rajya Sabha would be against and not in accordance with the the political stand we have been adopting,” the Kerala Chief Minister said.
He cited his own experience to buttress his argument. “I have worked as a party secretary in Kerala. I had been assigned the responsibility of party secretary while I was a minister in the state government. I had not resigned from the Assembly during that period. I could not do justice to the role as a legislator during that period. My role as a legislator had just confined to occasional visits to the Assembly,” Vijayan said.
Vijayan’s remarks comes on the day when the party’s top leadership is set to take a final call on the issue of Yechury’s re-election to the upper house. Yechury’s present term is slated to end on August 18.
With the Congress agreeing to support Yechury’s re-election, the West Bengal unit of the CPI(M) had passed a resolution seeking another term for the party general secretary. However, Kerala faction in the party opposed his candidature for a third term. The Politburo which met last month had left the decision to the Central Committee. According to party norms, no member can have more than two Rajya Sabha terms.