Sitaram Yechury Made CPI-M Chief, Faces Tough Test Ahead

Former JNU icon and senior leader Sitaram Yechury was unanimously elected the new general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Sunday at the party’s 21st Congress in Vishakhapatnam, a key development in the party.

The major test of Yechury will be to bring West bengal back to CPI-M fold in the midst of BJP’s growing presence in the state and Trinamool Congress fortifying its base.

Outgoing general secretary Prakash Karat proposed Yechury’s name and S. Ramchandran Pillai seconded it at the 91-member CC, the highest executive body of the party. It was unanimously approved.

Yechury, 62, became unanimous choice as Pillai withdrew contest ensuring that the party continued its tradition of electing its leader unanimously. Prakash Karat, headed the party for a decade, and the party lost power in West Bengal to Trinamool Congress. Now the onus of restoring Bengal fort back in CPI-M hands is on Yechury.

Claiming that CPI-M is the only party which can protect the interests of the vast millions of working people, he said it would work with other Left and democratic forces to oppose “the Narendra Modi government’s neo-liberal economic policies and communalism”.

“The Modi government has unleashed a new trimurti — communalism, neo-liberal economic policies and erosion of democratic practices. We must ensure that this trimurti unleashed by it doesn’t convert into a trishul that will pierce the heart of India.”

The party also elected a new politburo. Four new politburo members are Mohammed Saleem, Subhashini Ali, Hannan Mollah and G. Ramakrishnan. Subhashini Ali is the second woman in the politburo after Brinda Karat.

The politburo members are Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat, S. Ramchandran Pillai, Biman Basu, Manik Sarkar, Pinyarayi Vijayan, B.V. Raghavulu, K. Balakrishnan, M.A. Baby, S.K. Mishra, A.K. Padmanabhan, Mohammed Saleem, Subhashini Ali, Hannan Mollah and G. Ramakrishnan. Earlier, the Congress elected the new CC. Veteran leaders V.S. Achuthanandan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Nirupam Sen were dropped from the body.

Apart from 91 members, the CC has five special invitees and five permanent invitees.(With inputs from IANS)

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