Yechury, Pillai tight-lipped on CPI(M) leadership issue

The penultimate session of the 21 Party Congress of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has concluded on Saturday without a declaration on the next party general secretary. S. Ramachandran Pillai, considered a front runner for the post, refused to engage with the media on whether he was in the race, keen to become general secretary or his response if the party offered him the post.

‘Media speculation’

He, however, did not say he was not in the running; maintaining repeatedly that the issue of general secretary was a matter of speculation only in the media. “You have been liberally contributing to this speculation. Even the names of contenders are your creation. We have not discussed the matter.”

Rajya Sabha member Sitaram Yechury was equally tight-lipped though the former Kerala Chief Minister, V. S. Achuthanandan, set the cat among the pigeons by publicly wishing him all the best as general secretary.

States not on same page

Though, by all indications both Mr. Yechury and Mr. Pillai would like to avoid a contest, the two States with the highest and equal number of delegates — West Bengal and Kerala — are apparently ranged on opposite sides on this issue.

Kerala’s demand

Kerala is said to be pressing the point that it should have a greater say because it is now the larger State unit with more members and more resourceful.

Kerala strongman Pinarayi Vijayan and Mr. Yechury have not always seen eye-to-eye, and Mr. Achuthanandan’s open support for the Rajya Sabha member could draw the battle lines yet again in the State unit.

Those familiar with the inside chatter maintain that the issue is not just about who would become general secretary but also about the Political-Tactical Line (P-TL) of the party; particularly on alliances.

Mr. Yechury is of the view that the PT-L on alliances — a strategy envisaged by the former general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet — was not wrong but was not properly implemented, and Mr. Pillai subscribes to the “purist” opinion of marching on independently.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 7:42:06 PM |

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