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CPM to lose its best voice in RS, denies 3rd RS term to Sitaram Yechury

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CPM to lose its best voice in RS, denies 3rd RS term to Yechury

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Struggling for political survival, Bengal and Kerala factions of the party fail to rise above their internal squabbles

By Puneet Nicholas Yadav

On Tuesday, after a prolonged debate among its senior leadership at the two-day-long Central Committee meeting of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sitaram Yechury – who is also the party’s chief and the Left Front’s most prolific and cogent speaker in Parliament – was denied a third re-nomination to the Rajya Sabha.

Sources within the senior CPM leadership confirmed that it was the Kerala faction of the party – led by chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and with the backing of former party general secretary Prakash Karat – that queered the pitch for Yechury’s re-entry to the Upper House. Former Kerala chief minister, VS Achuthanandan, who in April 2015 was instrumental in getting Yechury elected as the party chief despite opposition from the Kerala faction, too could not help defeat the Vijayan-Karat lobby this time.

To be fair, Yechury had himself never officially demanded a third term. On the contrary, he had made it clear that he would not violate the party’s norm of not giving any member more than two terms in the Rajya Sabha. But then, the Bengal faction of the party – which is known for its allegiance to Yechury and an equal contempt for the Karat-Kerala party axis – had for over two months been pressing for breaking with the party norm and re-nominating the general secretary to the Upper House, given the major challenges that the Left parties face today: from the Narendra Modi-led BJP at the Centre and the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress in Bengal.

For a party that has for long had an internal discourse of political pragmatism and tactical decision-making, the denial of a Rajya Sabha berth to Yechury comes as arguably the third biggest political blunder in Left politics. The first being their collective decision of disallowing then West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu from becoming Prime Minister in 1996 of a broad anti-BJP coalition and then, a little over a decade later, under the leadership of Yechury’s predecessor, Prakash Karat, of withdrawing support to the Congress-led UPA-I government of Dr Manmohan Singh in the aftermath of the Indo-US Nuclear Deal.

At a time when the Left parties in general, and CPM in particular, are facing their most grave fight for survival, not allowing the combined Left Front’s most prolific and cogent orator – who enjoys the respect and admiration of parliamentarians cutting across party lines – to re-enter Rajya Sabha as an MP, is certain to cost the CPM-Left narrative very dear.

A senior party leader who also supported a third term for Yechury said: “those who opposed his nomination to the Rajya Sabha either do not realize the cost of their action or have knowingly put the party in a far more perilous political spot than breaking the 2-term norm would ever have”.

Another party leader explained: “The CPM today needs to have a leader who can not only put the party’s stand on crucial issues coherently on the floor of Parliament but also reach out to other like-minded parties to build a strong narrative to counter the BJP-NDA combine. Yechury is that man but unfortunately internal feuds and ambitions of a few leaders prevailed over pragmatism at the CC meet.”

It is widely known now that Vijayan categorically rejected the Bengal faction’s plea for giving Yechury a third term and rallied the Karat/Kerala faction against the proposal. In an interview to the Indian Express, even before the CC had taken its final decision, Vijayan gave two key reasons for not allowing Yechury to be re-nominated: first, that the party was averse to taking the Congress’ support in Bengal assembly to ensure Yechury’s victory in the RS poll due in August and second, that since Yechury is party general secretary he would not be able to give his full attention to the role if he continued to be a parliamentarian.

Vijayan’s rationale sounds more hypocritical than pragmatic, say those who supported a third term for Yechury. “It is known that in Kerala, Congress has been our principal political rival but then in Bengal we fought the last assembly polls in an alliance. In Parliament too, the Congress and Left parties have stood together on a wide array of issues to counter the Modi government. So this argument of not taking the Congress’ support for Yechury’s election is flawed to begin with. Secondly, Yechury has been the party chief and an MP for over two years and has discharged both roles with equal dedication so what has changed now?” said a senior CPM leader.

For the Left, the absence of Yechury from Rajya Sabha would no doubt come at a heavy price. The Congress, which was set to support Yechury in the RS polls, is not likely to support any other Left candidate from Bengal. It seems to have made and received positive overtures from Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress for nominating Meira Kumar – as a reward for standing in the Presidential polls against BJP nominee Ram Nath Kovind and losing with the lowest margin in nearly five decades – to Rajya Sabha from Bengal. The Left is set to not only lose its best speaker in Parliament but also a seat that it could have easily won if it had allowed Yechury to contest.

Indications from both Kerala and Bengal are that the BJP is on an upswing in both the states that have hitherto been the only surviving bastions of Left politics (though Bengal has been lost since Banerjee’s victory and the north-eastern state of Tripura sadly doesn’t give the CPM any political heft at a national level).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Shiv Sena, BJP to fight Lok Sabha elections together: CM Eknath Shinde declares after meeting Amit Shah

Shinde informed the meeting was held with Shah yesterday night.

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Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Monday, posting a picture from his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the BJP and Shiv Sena to unitedly fight all the upcoming elections including the Lok Sabha elections in the state.

Shinde tweeted a picture, in which along with him and Shah, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis can also be seen.

Shinde informed the meeting was held with Shah yesterday night.

Shinde in the caption with the picture informed, in the meeting, it was decided that the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra to contest all the upcoming elections in the state together, which includes the state assembly elections, local body elections and the mega 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Shinde added, for the sake of Maharashtra’s development, their alliance is strong and in the past 11 months of the BJP-Shiv Sena alliance, the government has taken major steps towards progress of the state and has also given permission to the policies that were at halt.

Confident Shinde said, in the future elections, they will contest together and will win with majority to make Maharashtra as the top ranking state in the country.

The Maharashtra CM further added, discussions related to agriculture and cooperative department also held in the meeting with Shah.

Shinde also hoped for the continuous guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi towards the implementation of policies for development of Maharashtra.

Shinde was a Thackeray family loyalist until last year, when he along with 15 other MLAs in a dramatic turn of events  went against then Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, which resulted to the the collapse of Maha Vikash Aghadi government in the state and the formation of BJP-Shiv Sena alliance government with Shinde taking over as the Chief Minister.

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Telugu Desam Party chief  Chandrababu Naidu meets Amit Shah, Nadda, speculation of BJP-TDP alliance

Reports said, both the parties may go into an alliance for the upcoming elections. The meeting between the leaders lasted for about half an hour.

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Chandrababu Naidu

Telugu Desam Party chief Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday evening, met BJP president JP Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi to reportedly discuss an alliance ahead of the Telangana assembly election this year and 2024 general elections. The meeting lasted for an hour.

Reports said, both the parties may go into an alliance for the upcoming elections. The meeting between the leaders lasted for about half an hour.

During the Narendra Modi led NDA came to the power at Centre in 2014, Naidu’s TDP was a part of the alliance until March 2018, when it broke the alliance on the special status issue to Andhra Pradesh.

The decision that was taken by Naidu just before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, he had then said it was in concern with the Centre overlooking Andhra Pradesh in the annual budget of the Centre.

Both the parties came together after the recent municipal elections in Port Blair. In March this year the Port-Blair municipal elections the TDP emerged as the kingmaker backing the BJP in the council formation.

If the two parties extended ties, it is expected to come as a shot in the arm for the BJP which has an aspiring target of expanding its footprint in Andhra Pradesh and and other southern region.

The Centre ruled party recently lost the Karnataka assembly elections, the lone southern state, where the party was in power.

However, the failure of the Karnataka Assembly elections has shifted BJP’s senior leadership’s attention to other states in South India, particularly Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where the party does not want to give the Congress any influence.

Reports said, while the TDP has emerged as one of the key opposition parties in Telangana, it has struggled to find support among the politically dominant castes in Andhra Pradesh.

Amid the speculations of an alliance between the TDP and BJP, both the parties have been throwing signals about a possible alliance in the near future.

The TDP recently distanced itself from the opposition’s move to boycott the Parliament inauguration event and marked its presence.

Reports said, the BJP leadership has made Telangana the party’s priority in its Mission South and has advanced in the state’s local body elections.

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War of words breaks out between BJP, Congress over Rahul Gandhi’s saying Muslim League is a secular party

Former Congress President and MP Mr. Rahul Gandhi got criticized by the BJP Leaders in India after his comment on the Muslim League is completely secular

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Rahul Gandhi

Several BJP leaders were quick to pounce on Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s comment at the National Press Club in Washington DC calling the Muslim League a secular party.

In his interaction in Washington DC, Rahul Gandhi said the Muslim League is a completely secular party and is in alliance with the Muslim League in Kerala as part of the United Democratic Front. Gandhi said there is nothing non-secular about the Muslim League and questioned the reporter’s knowledge about the Muslim League.

Senior BJP leaders said Rahul Gandhi is insulting India from foreign shores. Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya said Rahul Gandhi should apologise for his comments and should speak about it to the people in India once he is here.

Union Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said he does not take Rahul Gandhi seriously and blamed the comment on a Congress tendency. He said the comment was dangerous as such seeds of division can grow up to be challenges to the country.

Former Law Minister and BJP leader Kiren Rijiju criticised Rahul Gandhi’s statement on the Muslim League’s secular character. BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya criticized Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.

In response, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera hit out at Malviya on Twitter and questioned the BJP IT Cell chief’s wisdom and awareness about the Muslim League. He schooled him about the difference between the Indian Union Muslim League in Kerala and the Muslim League of Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

During the Washington DC interaction, Rahul Gandhi held forth on various topics including the party’s chances in the 2024 Lok Sabha, the move for Opposition unity to take on the BJP and the perils of unemployment that has been encircling India. Gandhi said his party was holding regular dialogue with all Opposition parties, there is a lot of good work happening in that regard.

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