In a big boost to CPM senior leader Sitaram Yechury, Congress state president from West Bengal Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, on Monday said that he has no objection if his party’s central leadership decides to give up the party’s claim to a Rajya Sabha seat from the state. Chowdhury also said that he has no issues even if the party backs CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, who is set to retireme in August 2017, Indian Express reports. “Personally, I do not have any objection if it is decided by our highest leadership. The gesture of Sitaram Yechury has always been in favour of the alliance politics and in favour of anti-BJP politics. However, the entire issue is being decided by our highest leadership,” Chowdhury said.
It is being reported that Congress high command is receptive to Yechury’s return to Rajya Sabha as he is one of the more vociferous opposition leaders in the Upper House and who plays a pivotal role in bringing opposition parties together to take on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. However, trouble may well be brewing for Yechury as his own party, the CPI (M) is still said to be undecided on whether it should give him a third term in the Upper House, which would be unprecedented. The party is also not sure about whether it should take support from the Congress.
Even in 2016, the CPM Politburo had openly mentioned that it’s state unit’s electoral understanding with the Congress for the Assembly elections was not in sync with its political-tactical line. The party had previously stated that there should be no alliance or understanding with the Congress party whatsoever. In the current time, party Politburo has members such as S Ramachandran Pillai and MA Baby, who have served two terms in Rajya Sabha.
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According to Indian Express, as many as nine Rajya Sabha members are to retire in August which includes six from Bengal and three from Gujarat. Apart from Yechury, leaders like Pradeep Bhattacharya from Congress, Derek O’Brien from Trinamool Congress and others are retiring from West Bengal.
In order to get selected in the Upper House, a candidate needs 42 votes in the 294-member West Bengal Assembly. Currently TMC has strength to elect five members to the Rajya Sabha. With 33 members in the Assembly, the Left cannot get its candidate to the Upper House without the support of Congress. While Congress with as many as 44 member in the House, can easily get its candidate elected without any problem.