No third term for Sitaram Yechury in Rajya Sabha, says CPI (M)

New Delhi: The central committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI(M), its highest decision-making body, on Tuesday decided against nominating party general secretary Sitaram Yechury for a third consecutive Rajya Sabha term, a top leader said.

A deeply divided central committee took the decision after a vote by raising of hands, capping deliberations on the contentious issue that lasted nearly four hours.

“The decision was taken keeping in mind the party norm that no CPI(M) leader can represent the party in the Upper House for more than two terms. Plus, the Kerala unit of the party was against taking help of Congress to get the party general secretary re-elected,” the leader said.

In fact, a majority of central committee members from other southern states, including Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, too, opposed the proposal which had the backing of the West Bengal and Tripura units.

The proposal for a third term for Yechury was moved by the West Bengal unit of the CPI(M) in June after the Congress’ central leadership reportedly offered its support to help get Yechury re-elected.

The party’s politburo had already rejected the proposal before it came up for discussion by the central committee on Tuesday.

The CPI(M) leadership is also learnt to have spoken to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about his interview to a leading English daily in which he said Yechury cannot be sent to the Rajya Sabha with the help of the Congress, an old rival in the southern state.

“Vijayan was asked about the interview which appeared right before the central committee was to decide the fate of Yechury’s third term. The chief minister said he had given the interview sometime ago and not today. He also said it was wrong to speak on the issue,” the leader said.

The second term of Yechury, a Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, ends next month.

The election for six West Bengal Rajya Sabha seats, including the one represented by Yechury, will be held on August 8. Nomination for the poll is to be filed before July 28.