Sitaram Yechury

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Sitaram Yechury
Yechuri 1.JPG
Sitaram Yechury in Kollam, Kerala during 2011 Assembly election
General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Assumed office
April 19, 2015
Preceded by Prakash Karat
Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha)
Assumed office
August 22, 2005
Constituency West Bengal
Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Assumed office
January 10, 1992
Personal details
Born (1952-08-12) August 12, 1952 (age 63)
Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Political party Communist Party of India (Marxist) South Asian Communist Banner.svg
Alma mater St. Stephen's College, Delhi,
Jawaharlal Nehru University
Occupation Politician, social worker, economist, columnist, writer

Sitaram Yechury (born August 12, 1952) is an Indian politician and a leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). He was elected as its General Secretary on 19 April 2015. He is a member of the politburo of CPI (M) and the party's Parliamentary group leader.[1]

Early life[edit]

Sitaram Yechury was born on 12 August 1952 in a Telugu speaking Brahmin[2] family in Madras (Chennai).[3] His father Sarveswara Somayajula Yechury was an engineer in the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.[4] His mother Kalpakam Yechury was a government officer.[5] He grew up in Hyderabad and studied at All Saints High School, Hyderabad till his tenth standard.[6] The Telangana agitation of 1969 brought him to Delhi.[5] He joined Presidents Estate School, New Delhi and achieved the All-India first rank in the Central Board of Secondary Education Higher Secondary Examination. Subsequently, he studied B.A. (Hons.) in Economics at the St. Stephen's College, Delhi[7] and M.A. in Economics, from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), achieving first class in both. He joined the JNU for a Ph.D. in Economics, which was aborted with his arrest during The Emergency.

Political career[edit]

Yechury joined the Students Federation of India (SFI) in 1974. A year later, he joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

He was arrested in 1975 during the Emergency while he was still a student at JNU. He was underground for some time, organising resistance to the Emergency, before his arrest. After the Emergency, he was elected as the President of the JNU Students' Union thrice during one year (1977–78).[citation needed] Yechury, along with Prakash Karat, was instrumental in creating an impregnable leftist bastion at JNU.[8]

In 1978, he was elected as All-India Joint Secretary of SFI, and went on to become the All India President of SFI. He was the first president of SFI who was not from Kerala or Bengal.[5] He left SFI in 1986. In 1984, he was elected to the Central Committee of the CPI(M). In 1985, the party constitution was modified and a five-man central secretariat was elected, consisting of younger stalwarts - Sitaram Yechury, Prakash Karat, Sunil Moitra, P. Ramachandran and S. Ramachandran Pillai - to work under the direction and control of the politburo.[8] Yechury was elected to the Politburo at the Fourteenth Congress in 1992.[9] Yechury was elected as the fifth General Secretary of CPI (M) at the party's 21st party Congress in Vishakapatnam on 19 April 2015. Yechury and politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai were the frontrunners for the post but the former was unanimously chosen after Pillai chose to withdraw.[10] Yechury succeeded Prakash Karat who held the post for three consecutive terms, from 2005 to 2015.

Yechury is billed as the true heir to the coalition-building legacy of former general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet. Yechury worked with P. Chidambaram to draft the common minimum programme for the United Front government in 1996 and had actively pursued the coalition-building process during the formation of the United Progressive Alliance government in 2004.[11][12]

Yechury has headed the party's international department and the party used to depute him as fraternal delegate to the party conferences of most socialist countries. A prolific writer, he has authored many books and writes the fortnightly column Left Hand Drive for Hindustan Times, a widely circulated daily.[13] He is continuing as the editor of party organ People's Democracy for the past 20 years.[14]

Role in Rajya Sabha[edit]

He was elected to Rajya Sabha from West Bengal in July 2005.[15] He has made a mark in the Upper House, becoming one of the most prominent voices of opposition and has earned the reputation of being the de facto leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha.[12][16] Yechury is known for bringing several popular issues to the notice of parliament and for raising questions on important issues. On blaming by the ruling party for frequent disruptions in parliament, Yechury said that government cannot escape from its responsibility by blaming the opposition for frequent disruptions. He justifies disruptions in parliament by calling it a legitimate process in a democracy.[17]

During the negotiations for the Indo-US Nuclear Pact, Yechury listed in the Rajya Sabha all the conditions that the CPM required of the agreement. After the Manmohan Singh government satisfied all the conditions, he was overruled by Prakash Karat, who claimed that the agreement still violated the CPM's idea of "independent foreign policy". It is said that Yechuri felt "displeased and helpless".[18]

On 3 March 2015 during parliament session, Yechury moved an amendment to President Pranab Mukherjee's address on the inaugural day of Parliament's budget session, which was passed by division of votes in Rajya Sabha which brought huge embarrassment to the Modi government. Parliamentary affairs minister Venkiah Naidu said Yechury's concern has been noted and requested him not go ahead with the amendment as this is not a convention. Yechury said normally he would accept such a request, but he was pressing for the amendment as the government left no choice as even after 14 hours of debate, opposition was denied opportunity to seek clarification on the Prime Minister’s reply. This was the fourth time in Rajya Sabha’s history that an amendment moved by the opposition to the motion of thanks to the President’s address has been passed.[19][20]

Views on United States of America[edit]

Yechury is a staunch critic of US foreign policy. He also criticised visit of the US president Barack Obama on Republic Day celebration of India.[21] While blaming USA for rise of Islamic fundamentalism he said, "US military interventions in West Asia have created a situation of complete uncertainty. The military interventions have always given birth to the rise of fundamentalism, which we see today in the menace that has been created by the ISIS. They have given birth to such tendencies."[21]

He also blames USA for its hegemonic attitude, he said "Now, in their(USA) quest for global hegemony, they are trying to capture the energy resources in the world. They are trying to control the entire process of the energy transfers or trade in the world. And for this reason, their military interventions has also continuing to deny the Palestinians their legitimate right to a homeland."[21]

Personal life[edit]

Yechury is married to journalist Seema Chisti, formerly the Delhi editor of BBC Hindi Service, she is presently the Resident Editor of Indian Express, Delhi. He was married before, to Vina Mazumdar's daughter and has a daughter and a son from this marriage.[22] His daughter Akhila Yechury is a historian and teaches at Edinburgh University and University of St. Andrews.[5][23] Mohan Kanda IAS, former Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, is Yechury's maternal uncle.[4]


Yechury has authored the following books:

  • What is This Hindu Rashtra?: On Golwalkar's Fascistic Ideology and the Saffron Brigade's Practice (Frontline Publications, Hyderabad, 1993)
  • Pseudo Hinduism Exposed: Saffron Brigade's Myths and Reality (Communist Party of India (Marxist), New Delhi, 1993)
  • Caste and Class in Indian Politics Today (Prajasakti Book House, Hyderabad, 1997)
  • Oil Pool Deficit Or Cesspool of Deceit (Communist Party of India (Marxist), New Delhi, 1997)
  • Socialism in a Changing World (Prajasakti Book House, Hyderabad, 2008)
  • Left Hand Drive: Concrete Analysis of Concrete Conditions (Prajasakti Book House, Hyderabad, 2012)
  • Modi Government: New Surge of Communalism (Prajasakti Book House, Hyderabad, 2014)
  • Communalism vs. Secularism
  • Ghrina Ki Rajniti (Vani Prakashan, New Delhi, 2006) (in Hindi)

Yechury has edited the following books:

  • People's Diary of Freedom Struggle (Communist Party of India (Marxist), New Delhi, 2008)
  • The Great Revolt A Left Appraisal (Communist Party of India (Marxist), New Delhi)
  • Global Economic Crisis: A Marxist Perspective


  1. ^ "Biography of Sitaram Yechuri". 
  2. ^ "Brahmins in Indian Politics | bighow - big news". 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  3. ^ "Sitaram Yechury: Suave, Soft-Spoken and Dynamic". NDTV. 19 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "S.S. Yechury memorial office building opened". The Hindu. July 25, 2011. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d Akshaya Mukul (April 21, 2015). "1969 Telangana agitation brought Sitaram Yechury to Delhi". Economic Times. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  6. ^ K. Venkateshwarlu (November 19, 2005). "All Saints High School in select group". The Hindu. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  7. ^ "Detailed Profile - Shri Sitaram Yechury - Members of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) - Who's Who - Government: National Portal of India". 
  8. ^ a b Sreedhar Pillai (January 31, 1989). "Vote for continuity: 13th party congress of CPI(M) in Trivandrum one of the most significant in its history". India Today. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Party Congress". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ Rajesh Ramachandran (April 20, 2015). "Sitaram Yechury: A fine combination of pleasant personality, interpersonal skills & flair for negotiation". Economic Times. Retrieved April 21, 2015
  12. ^ a b Anita Joshua (April 19, 2015). "Yechury has an unenviable task on hand". The Hindu. Retrieved April 21, 2015
  13. ^ "Hindustan Times - Latest News, India, Cricket, Sports, Bollywood". 
  14. ^ Saubhadra Chatterji (April 19, 2015). "From an activist to CPI-M general secretary: Sitaram Yechury's journey". Hindustan Times. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  15. ^ "The Hindu : National : Yechury, Brinda Karat take oath". 
  16. ^ "A polyglot with a global attitude: Sitaram Yechury". Deccan Chronicle. April 20, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015
  17. ^ "Government can't blame Opposition for bedlam in Parliament: Sitaram Yechury". timesofindia-economictimes. 
  18. ^ Baru, Sanjaya (2014). The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh. Penguin India. pp. 226–227. ISBN 9789351186380. 
  19. ^ [2][dead link]
  20. ^ "Embarrassment for Modi: Rajya Sabha amends note on President's speech". 
  21. ^ a b c "Yechury criticises govt for inviting Obama on Republic Day". Zee News. 
  22. ^ Akshay Mukul (June 23, 2010). "Vina Mazumdar, the fighter". The Times of India. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
  23. ^ "Dr Akhila Yechury: BA (Hons.), MA (Delhi), M.Phil (JNU), PhD (Cantab)". University of St. Andrews. Retrieved April 21, 2015.

External links[edit]