NEW DELHI: The CPI (M) central committee Monday discussed a third Rajya Sabha term for party general secretary Sitaram Yechury, whose tenure in the upper house ends in August.
Earlier, the matter came up during party’s Polit Bureau meeting in the national capital last month but it was decided to leave it to the central committee, party’s executive body, to take a final call on the matter.
According to sources, party’s West Bengal unit has put forth reasons like him being a prominent leader and face of the party in Rajya Sabha.
“It was Yechury who had proposed Gopalkrishna Gandhi’s name as opposition candidate for both president and vice president. Entire opposition agreed upon making Gandhi as vice president candidate. He is seen as a prominent leader by all political parties,” said party sources.
Sources further said that if not Yechury, Congress will field its own candidate and in that case CPI (M) may have to support it.
“So it’s better to take Congress support and get Yechury elected than CPI (M) supporting a Congress candidate,” it added.
The Opposition parties have been pushing for his re-election to Rajya Sabha because he is a prominent Opposition face and a powerful speaker to take on BJP in Rajya Sabha, where the ruling government is in minority.
Of the six seats that fell vacant in West Bengal, ruling Trinamool Congress is certain to win five and on one seat Congress is ready to support Yechury’s candidature.
According to party norms, no member can have two Rajya Sabha terms. Yechury himself has made it clear that he is not interested in getting a third term and will abide by party’s constitution. There is division among the party with Kerala faction opposing his candidature for a third term while West Bengal unit has passed a resolution supporting it.
To have Yechury in upper house is also important for the party as CPI(M) currently has eight members and two of its other members from West Bengal Tapan Kumar Sen and Ritabrata Banerjee are due to retire in 2020. After that party will not have any member in Rajya Sabha from West Bengal.