That Yechury was unanimously re-elected the party general secretary by the new central committee of the party, its highest decision-making body, was received with a sense of relief by delegates who attended the five-day conclave in Hyderabad. There had been fear that a contest might have divided the party.
‘Unity’ was also the leitmotif of Yechury’s speech during the concluding session of the party conclave. “If any message that should go to rank and file and our class enemy is that CPI (M) has emerged as a united party,” Yechury said.
The other message from the party conclave was of Yechury having emerged stronger within the party. It was evident on Friday when massive support from party delegates forced the rival Prakash Karat camp to agree to Yechury’s draft political line, which left elbow room for the CPI (M) state units, particularly its West Bengal unit, to have seat adjustments with the Congress.
He can also hope for a more favourable central committee and politburo. The new central committee has 19 new members, 11 of whom are Yechury supporters. The new members in the politburo are trade union leader Tapan Sen and former MP Nilotpal Basu. However, despite the CPI(M)’s recent efforts at becoming the standard bearer on the Dalit issue, not a single Dalit was inducted into the politburo, but the central committee now has more representation from marginalised communities, like Dalits and tribals.
Yechury served his first term as general secretary for 2015-18, but was hobbled in his decision-making because a majority of the members of the politburo, as also the central committee, were aligned with the Karat camp.
However, Yechury and others argued that Sarkar leaving Tripura, barely a month after the party suffered a defeat in the assembly polls there, would be demoralising for the state unit. Sarkar agreed with that assessment and opted not to contest.
There were others, a leader each from Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh, who were also persuaded not to contest. The newly-elected 95-member central committee elected 65-year-old Yechury unanimously.
Later in the day, Yechury said the CPI (M) will not have a political alliance with the Congress but an “understanding” inside and outside Parliament to stop the forces of communalism. He said the party will chalk out its “electoral-tactical line” on the basis of state-based ground realities, indicating the Bengal and some other units might have seat adjustments with the Congress.