The CPI(M) Politburo on Wednesday decided against giving a third term in the Rajya Sabha to party general secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Yechury had made it clear earlier that he would not seek a third term. His current term ends in August.
The issue came up for discussion in the Politburo after the party’s West CBengal unit sent a proposal to the central leadership, urging it to consider taking the support of the Congress to give Yechury a third term. But the Kerala unit is learnt to have strongly opposed the suggestion of taking Congress support.
The CPI(M) follows a two-term norm for Rajya Sabha MPs.
Addressing the media after the Politburo meeting, Yechury reiterated that he opted out since he did not want to violate party norms. “When that notification (for Rajya Sabha election) comes… at that time the appropriate decision will be taken by the party,” he said, indicating that the final call rests with the central committee, the party’s highest decision-making body.
The CPI(M) Bengal unit’s proposal came after the Congress said it was willing to give up its claim and back Yechury if the CPI(M) decided to field him.
Politburo members from Kerala are learnt to have opposed the proposal because it goes against the norm, and also because the Congress is the party’s main rival in Kerala and Tripura. Bengal leaders demanded that the matter be discussed in the central committee.
Sources said the issue will come up for discussion in the central committee if the Bengal leadership sticks to its demand. It is not clear whether the Rajya Sabha elections would be announced or held before July 23, when the central committee is scheduled to meet next.
With 33 MLAs in West Bengal, the Left Front does not have the required numbers to get Yechury re-elected. The Trinamool has the strength to get five of its members elected. The Congress, with 44 MLAs, can get its candidate elected without any hitch.