The Telegraph
Friday , July 8 , 2011
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CPM picks Yechury for RS
- House role, relations with other parties key in choice
Sitaram Yechury

Calcutta, July 7: CPM politburo member Sitaram Yechury was today re-nominated for the lone Rajya Sabha seat the party will contest in the July 22 Upper House elections.

His role as the CPM’s Rajya Sabha and parliamentary party leader “worked in his favour”, sources said.

“It was unanimously decided at a CPM state secretariat meeting (in Alimuddin Street) this evening that Sitaram Yechury will be our candidate for the Rajya Sabha polls,” party leader Mohammad Salim said.

Yechury, whose Upper House term expires in August along with those of the CPM’s Brinda Karat and Mohammad Amin and the RSP’s Abani Roy, will file his nomination tomorrow.

“Yechury is scheduled to leave for China on July 11 as part of a party delegation. The last date for filing nominations is July 12. So he will have to fly down to Calcutta and file his nomination tomorrow, unless there is a change in his tour plans,’’ a CPM leader said.

The CPM, which has 39 MLAs in the Bengal Assembly, will have to depend on the other Left Front partners to get Yechury elected because a party needs to have a minimum of 42 seats to send a candidate to the Rajya Sabha. Earlier in the day, all the Left Front constituents had met and agreed that the Upper House nominee would be from the CPM.

Yechury had been elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bengal in August 2005.

According to an Alimuddin Street source, the die was cast in Yechury’s favour as he is now the CPM’s leader in the Rajya Sabha besides being the chief of the parliamentary party. “His role in the Upper House is important, particularly now that we have a reduced strength. He is a good speaker and is the interface between our party and the Congress (at the Centre). He has wide acceptability among other mainstream political parties,’’ a CPM central committee member said.

“Moreover, Yechury has always stood by the Bengal unit of the party, even after the Assembly poll debacle. At the recently concluded Hyderabad central committee meeting, he had underscored the need to stand by the Bengal unit rather than blame it for the debacle,” the leader added.

Another reason for Yechury’s nomination is that he is a member of the joint parliamentary committee set up to probe the spectrum scam, a CPM state secretariat member said.

Yechury had also led the CPM teams that met Union home minister P. Chidambaram several times to complain about the “Trinamul-Maoist nexus’’.

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