news Tuesday, April 14, 2015 - 05:30
A cloud of uncertainty looms over the Communist Party of India (Marxist)’s 21st party congress which began in Vishakapattinam on Tuesday over the appointment of its new general secretary. As per reports, two main contenders are in the running to replace existing general secretary, Prakash Karat who will remit office after three terms, a position he held for a decade - S Ramachandran Pillai and Sitaram Yechury. As per norms, the Party Congress would elect a new Central Committee, which would in turn elect the Politburo and the new General Secretary on the last day, April 19th. Comprising members from different states, the Central Committe is believed to have two preferences, with the Kerala members supporting Pillai while its West Bengal members are believed to back Yechury. Malayalam media is rife with speculation that if Pillai is indeed selected, he will hold the post for a term. Both Yechury and Pillai started off in the CPI(M) Politburo at the same time. However, if S Ramachandran Pillai did make it as the new general secretary of CPIM, he would become the second leader from Kerala to hold the post after EMS Namboodiripad, who held the position for 14 years from 1978. A party post that has always been unanimously chosen each time, this is one of the first times that there is a clear division in who should take up the post of general secretary next.  It remains to be seen whether the senior leadership is able to convince its members to arrive at a decision on the General Secretary without any contention. As of now it seems like the Kerala unit that has almost 200 members in the Central Committee will prefer Pilllai, while the Bengal unit wants Yechury as new chief. The decision of units from states like Andhra Pradesh holds the key, and it is being keenly watched if Prakash Karat will be able to convince everyone. However, according to a Malayala Manorama report, he downplayed the reports over the dispute in the party over election of new general secretary terming such reports as mere speculations. The 21st CPM party Congress is expected to pave new direction to the future of the party that is dealing with debacle after debacle for the past six years. The possible expansion of the Left Front would have significant impact on Kerala politics. CPM has its footing in Bengal and Tripura apart from Kerala. Holding up the communist ideology, CPIM politburo member Sitaram Yechury has reportedly said that he will accept any position the party confers on him. The Congress is also expected to elect new members to the Polit Bureau to replace senior CPI(M) leaders Buddhadev Bhattacharya , Nirupam Sen and N. Varadarajan.

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