CPM not to field Yechury for RS from West Bengal

Sitaram Yechury

On the sidelines of the oath-taking ceremony for the new President Tuesday, the Trinamool Congress reached out to the Congress with a brief message from party chief Mamata Banerjee - the TMC will not put up a candidate for a Rajya Sabha seat from West Bengal if the Congress fields former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar.

Sources said leaders like Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar were of the view that even if it is necessary to send Yechury to Parliament, it should be from Kerala or Tripura where the party is in power.

CPI (M) does not have enough seats to elect Rajya Sabha member by itself and would need Congress votes too.

However, the party's ongoing central committee is expected to make a statement on the matter.

Senior CPM leader Sitaram Yechury will not get a third term in the Rajya Sabha, his party has decided, sources told NDTV. "He also said it was wrong to speak on the issue", the leader said. Yechury himself has made it clear that he is not interested in getting a third term and will abide by party's constitution. After that party will not have any member in Rajya Sabha from West Bengal. "There is a feeling that the party's general secretary should not be elected with the help of the Congress - the rival of the CPI (M) in Kerala".

According to norm, CPI (M) leaders are not allowed more than two terms in the upper House. At a time when the Left is losing popular support even in its traditional stronghold like West Bengal, Mr Yechury brings the Left to national relevance and so must continue to front for the Left in Parliament, they said.

To have Yechury in upper house is also important for the party as CPI (M) now has eight members and two of its other members from West Bengal Tapan Kumar Sen and Ritabrata Banerjee are due to retire in 2020. The leader added that there is "still no consensus" on the issue within the party yet. 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.

The Election Commission had announced polling for 10 Rajya Sabha seats, including from Gujarat and West Bengal will be held on August 8 and counting will be taken up the same day.

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