Visakhapatnam: Senior leader Sitaram Yechury was unanimously elected the new general secretary of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) on Sunday -- the last day of the party's 21st Congress here. He resolved to strengthen the party to meet the challenges faced by the country and the organisation.
At the meeting of the new Central Committee (CC) on the last day of the party's 21st Congress, outgoing general secretary Prakash Karat proposed Yechury's name and S. Ramchandran Pillai seconded it.
The 91-member CC, the highest executive body of the party, unanimously approved Yechury's installation as the party chief.
The election of 62-year-old Yechury came after Pillai, who was reportedly in the fray for the top party post, withdrew thereby ensuring that the party continued its tradition of electing its leader unanimously.
Prakash Karat, who headed the party for a decade, later made the formal announcement in front of the media at the end of the six-day conclave.
Yechury, who termed the new task as challenging, introduced the 16-member politburo. Yechury, who has been serving as the politburo member of the party since 1992, is the fifth general secretary of the 50-year-old party.
He faces the onerous task of giving a new lease of life to the party, whose strength in the Lok Sabha was reduced to single-digit in last year's general elections.
Addressing the media, Yechury described the 21st Congress as the congress for the future of the party, India and Left unity. He said the strength of the party lay in its collective functioning.
Referring to the new tactical line and the political resolution adopted at the conclave, he admitted that it will not be possible for the party to implement them without strengthening itself organisationally.
The new general secretary said the party would hold organisational plenum before the end of 2015 to strengthen the party to face the challenges.
Claiming that CPI-M is the only party which can protect the interests of the vast millions of working people, he said it would work with other Left and democratic forces to oppose "the Narendra Modi government's neo-liberal economic policies and communalism".
"Our job is to overthrow the present class rule in order to bring people's democracy," he said while calling for uniting the struggles against the new economic policies and social repression.
"What we have today is not only a government headed by communal forces but a government which is more aggressively pursuing the agenda of neo-liberal economic policies," he said.
He added: "The Modi government has unleashed a new trimurti -- communalism, neo-liberal economic policies and erosion of democratic practices. We must ensure that this trimurti unleashed by it doesn't convert into a trishul that will pierce the heart of India."
Contending that the crisis in capitalism has deepened and continues to deepen, the communist leader said there is no solution for people except by strengthening the struggle of socialism.
"People ask what is the future of communism and socialism. There is only one answer... if there is any future of human civilization, it lies in socialism," he asserted.
He said the situation, both internationally and nationally, was ripe for the advancement of people's struggle but the party could utilise it only by strengthening its organisational and political capacity.
"Return from this party congress with resolve and conviction that we shall fight, we shall win," Yechury said amid cheers by the delegates.
The CC also elected a new politburo. Four new politburo members are Mohammed Saleem, Subhashini Ali, Hannan Mollah and G. Ramakrishnan.
Subhashini Ali is the second woman in the politburo after Brinda Karat.
The politburo members are Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, Brinda Karat, S. Ramchandran Pillai, Biman Basu, Manik Sarkar, Pinyarayi Vijayan, B.V. Raghavulu, K. Balakrishnan, M.A. Baby, S.K. Mishra, A.K. Padmanabhan, Mohammed Saleem, Subhashini Ali, Hannan Mollah and G. Ramakrishnan. Earlier, the Congress elected the new CC.
Veteran leaders V.S. Achuthanandan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharya and Nirupam Sen were dropped from the body.
Apart from 91 members, the CC has five special invitees and five permanent invitees.