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CPM divided over giving Sitaram Yechury third Rajya Sabha term

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-07-2017 Pretika Khanna

New Delhi: The Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPM is divided over whether party general secretary Sitaram Yechury should be given a third term in the Rajya Sabha. While Yechury himself has ruled out the possibility, the West Bengal state unit of the party is keen that he gets a third term in the upper house.

The issue is likely to be discussed by the central committee, the highest decision making body of the party, at its 24-25 July meeting in the national capital. The West Bengal unit submitted a proposal in June seeking a third term for the leader. The politburo of the party has already ruled out a re-election.

According to a notification issued by the Election Commission, the last date for nominations of candidates in 28 July. There are six seats from West Bengal for which elections are due to be held on 8 August.

“The central committee is meeting on 24 and 25 July. The party has received a proposal from the West Bengal unit which is likely to be raised in the meeting and a final decision will be taken. The party has a rule against giving a third term to a leader,” said a senior leader of the party, who did not wish to be named.

The CPM has a rule barring its MPs from standing for the upper house for a third term, in order to allow younger activists a chance to represent the party in Parliament. Addressing the matter last month, Yechury said that, as general secretary, he cannot violate the rule.

The Congress party, which fought the West Bengal assembly polls in an understanding with the left parties, has offered to support Yechury’s election to the upper house. The CPM won 26 seats in the assembly elections in 2016 leaving it short of a the required numbers to nominate a member to the Rajya Sabha. The Left Front has 32 members in the assembly while the Congress won 44 seats in the state assembly elections.

Yechury, the country’s most visible face of the Left, has been part of 236 debates and has asked 44 questions over his two terms. According to PRS Legislative Research, his attendance in Parliament is 87%.

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