Why Pillai pulled out of the race making way for Yechury
news Monday, April 20, 2015 - 05:30
Sitaram Yechury, the newly designated CPM General Secretary has put all rumours to rest over the recent general secretary appointment by acknowledging that there was a difference in opinion within the party during the elections. A result that was speculated upon until the very last day of the party congress on Sunday, Yechury emerged as the winner despite strict competition from 77 year-old S Ramachandra Pillai. Though Yechury himself was a strong contender, Pillai, on the other hand, was not lacking in support considering the backing of a powerful Kerala lobby along with a nod from the former secretary, Prakash Karat himself. Ironically, though Karat disagreed with Yechury on the party’s stand, it was Karat himself who ended up proposing his name, while Pillai seconded it. The reason behind the decision was the prospective result of a secret ballot contest which could have most likely gone in Yechury’s favour. A closely-monitored contest that had many contenders, Yechury revealed that more names had been under consideration by the party for the coveted post. Though the CPM’s Kerala unit had no affinity towards Yechury, it was his timely support towards VS Achutahanandan during a bitter feud within the party that ensured his support for the new secretary. What made him win? A clear majority in supporters may have guaranteed Yechury’s victory. While only Kerala’s unit backed Pillai, Yechury has been in the good books of Tripura Chief Minister apart from strong support from the Bengal lobby. Not only was Yechury 15 years younger than his strongest opposition – a strong advantage- he also got the party’s nod for his command over the Hindi language, a point that went in his favour over the party’s future plans to strengthen in the north. Though the appointment could have gone in a completely different way, strict adamancy on part of Yechury to go for elections and allow voting in the 91-member central committee also worked in his favour. Only when both Yechury and Pillai refused to let go till the very end did Karat intervene and convince Pillai to withdraw from the race – a wise decision considering the number of votes that would have gone in Yechury’s favour. It was reported that neither of the top leaders in the party wanted an election result that would have been a stark display of the divide within the party - and hence resulted an unanimous decision in Yechury's favour. 
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