The Left Front will look for an independent candidate, “acceptable” to the opposition, for the election to one of the Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal, in a bid to stop the ruling TMC in that state from winning it, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said today. Yechury said this a day after the CPI(M) central committee rejected a proposal of the party’s West Bengal unit of resending him to the Upper House for the third consecutive term from the seat. The election for the six Rajya Sabha seats from West Bengal is due next month. The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC), given its strength of 211 MLAs in the 294-member state Assembly, is in a position to win five of those seats. None of the parties in West Bengal, however, is certain to win the sixth seat, proposed to be contested by Yechury earlier, before the central committee rejected it.
“We want to find out an independent candidate, who will be acceptable to all the opposition parties, so that we can foil the TMC’s desire to capture the sixth seat. They (the Left Front committee) will discuss it and let us know,” Yechury told reporters here. The Marxist leader, however, reiterated his party’s “political or tactical” line that there would be no “alliance or understanding” with the Congress in this regard. On the central committee’s decision to deny him a third stint in the Rajya Sabha, Yechury said the call was taken “keeping the political or tactical line in mind”. The committee, he added, arrived at the conclusion also considering that the party’s general secretary “normally” did not become a Member of Parliament and devoted more time to the organisation.
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“There is also this two-term norm fixed by the CPI(M), which ensures a flow of leadership. This is something we want to stick to,” he added.
Yechury himself had, in April, stated that he would not be seeking another innings in the Upper House. He also said the CPI(M) politburo asked Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan about a recent interview of his to a leading English newspaper, in which he said the party general secretary could not be sent to the Rajya Sabha with the help of the Congress, the traditional rival of the party in the southern state. Vijayan’s comments were published at a time when the central committee was still considering the proposal for a third Rajya Sabha term for Yechury.
“Vijayan was told by the politburo that it was not proper of him to give that interview when the central committee was considering the issue. He said the comments were part of a lengthy interview and only that particular question was picked up,” said Yechury. Meanwhile, the CPI(M) said in a statement, “The central committee is of the opinion that an acceptable, independent candidate of the opposition parties in West Bengal may be fielded (in the RS poll), failing which the West Bengal Left Front Committee will consider contesting.”