Jump to content

Sitaram Yechury

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sitaram Yechury
Yechury in 2024
General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Assumed office
19 April 2015
Preceded byPrakash Karat
Member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Assumed office
10 January 1992
Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha
In office
19 August 2005 – 18 August 2017
Preceded byAbani Roy
Succeeded byShanta Chhetri
ConstituencyWest Bengal
Personal details
Born (1952-08-12) 12 August 1952 (age 71)
Madras, Madras State, India
(present day Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)
Political partyCommunist Party of India (Marxist)
SpouseSeema Chishti
RelationsMohan Kanda (Maternal Uncle)
Alma materSt. Stephen's College, Delhi (BA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (MA)
WebsiteParty Official website

Sitaram Yechury (born 12 August 1952) is an Indian Marxist politician and the General Secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist),[1] and a member of the Politburo of the CPI(M) since 1992. Previously, he was a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha from West Bengal from 2005 to 2017.

Early life[edit]

Sitaram Yechury was born on 12 August 1952 into a Telugu-speaking family in Chennai.[2] His father Sarveswara Somayajula Yechury and mother Kalpakam Yechury are natives of Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. His father was an engineer in the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.[3] His mother was a government officer and currently lives in Kakinada.[4] He grew up in Hyderabad and studied at All Saints High School, Hyderabad till his tenth standard.[5] The Telangana agitation of 1969 brought him to Delhi.[4] He joined Presidents Estate School, New Delhi and achieved the All-India first rank in the Central Board of Secondary Education Higher Secondary Examination.[6] 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,[8] 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).

Yechury was arrested in 1975 during the Emergency while he was still a student at JNU. He went 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).[9] Yechury, along with Prakash Karat, was instrumental in creating an impregnable leftist bastion at JNU.[10]

In 1978, Yechury 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.[4] 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 - him, Prakash Karat, Sunil Moitra, P. Ramachandran and S. Ramachandran Pillai - to work under the direction and control of the politburo.[10] He left the SFI in 1986. He was then elected to the Politburo at the Fourteenth Congress in 1992[11] and as the fifth General Secretary of CPI(M) at the party's 21st party Congress in Visakhapatnam on 19 April 2015. He and politburo member S. Ramachandran Pillai were the frontrunners for the post but the former was unanimously chosen after Pillai chose to withdraw.[12] He succeeded Prakash Karat, who had held the post for three consecutive terms, from 2005 to 2015. He was again re-elected as General Secretary of CPI(M) at the 22nd Party Congress held at Hyderabad during 18 April 2018 to 22 April 2018.[13] He was elected for a third term as General Secretary of CPI(M) at the 23rd Party Congress held at Kannur, Kerala during April 6, 2022 to April 10, 2022.[14]

Yechury is considered to uphold the coalition-building legacy of former general secretary Harkishan Singh Surjeet. He 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.[15][16] He has been playing a pivotal role in building a secular democratic pro-people government since the beginning of his political career. He has always fought for the fundamental rights of people and believes in "Unity in Diversity". He has always raised his voice against violence.

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.[17] He has edited party's fortnightly newspaper People's Democracy for the past 20 years.[18]

Role in Rajya Sabha[edit]

Yechury receiving Best Parliamentarian Award (Rajya Sabha) in 2016.

Yechury was elected to Rajya Sabha from West Bengal in July 2005.[19] He 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, he 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.[20]

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 this left Yechury "displeased and helpless".[21]

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 Venkaiah Naidu stated that Yechury's concern had been noted and requested him to not go ahead with the amendment as this was 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 had been passed.[22][23]

Views on United States[edit]

Yechury is a staunch critic of US foreign policy. He also criticised the visit of the US president Barack Obama on Republic Day.[24]

While blaming the US 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."[24]

He also blames the US for its hegemonic attitude, he said "Now, in their (US) 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."[24] He was also a staunch critic of abrogation of article 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Yechury is married to journalist Seema Chisti, who is the editor of The Wire, and formerly the Delhi editor of BBC Hindi Service.[26] She was the Resident Editor of Indian Express, Delhi. Yechury said in a ScoopWhoop episode that his wife financially sustains him.[27] He was married before, to Indrani Mazumdar, daughter of Vina Mazumdar, and has a daughter and a son from this marriage.[28] His daughter, Akhila Yechury, is a major in history and teaches at the University of Edinburgh and University of St. Andrews.[4][29] Mohan Kanda IAS, former Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, is Yechury's maternal uncle.[3]

His son Ashish Yechury died on 22 April 2021 due to COVID-19, he was 34.[30]

On 12 September 2020, he along with Yogendra Yadav and others was named in the supplementary chargesheet by Delhi Police for their alleged role in 2020 Delhi riots[31][32] over which Yechury responded that BJP was misusing its power to target the opposition.[33]


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. ^ "Whatever Happened, Comrades?". The Telegraph, Calcutta. 30 April 2017. Archived from the original on 22 September 2017. Retrieved 22 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Sitaram Yechury: Suave, Soft-Spoken and Dynamic". NDTV. 19 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "S.S. Yechury memorial office building opened". The Hindu. 25 July 2011. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d Akshaya Mukul (21 April 2015). "1969 Telangana agitation brought Sitaram Yechury to Delhi". Economic Times. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  5. ^ K. Venkateshwarlu (19 November 2005). "All Saints High School in select group". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Sitaram Yechury". 28 August 2009.
  7. ^ "Detailed Profile - Shri Sitaram Yechury - Members of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) - Who's Who - Government: National Portal of India". india.gov.in.
  8. ^ "Biography of Sitaram Yechuri". winentrance.com. 14 March 2011.
  9. ^ "Sitaram Yechury - Communist Party of India". Communist Party of India. 28 August 2009. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  10. ^ a b Sreedhar Pillai (31 January 1989). "Vote for continuity: 13th party congress of CPI(M) in Trivandrum one of the most significant in its history". India Today. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  11. ^ "Party Congress". Cpimkerala.org. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  12. ^ Joshua, Anita (19 April 2015). "Yechury is new CPI(M) chief". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  13. ^ "Sitaram Yechury re-elected as CPI(M) general secretary". Archived from the original on 29 April 2018.
  14. ^ "Yechury re-elected CPI(M) general secretary". The Hindu. 10 April 2022. Archived from the original on 4 February 2023. Retrieved 27 June 2023.
  15. ^ Rajesh Ramachandran (20 April 2015). "Sitaram Yechury: A fine combination of pleasant personality, interpersonal skills & flair for negotiation". Economic Times. Retrieved 21 April 2015
  16. ^ Anita Joshua (19 April 2015). "Yechury has an unenviable task on hand". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 April 2015
  17. ^ "Latest News, India, Cricket, Sports, Bollywood". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 25 January 2013.
  18. ^ Saubhadra Chatterji (19 April 2015). "From an activist to CPI-M general secretary: Sitaram Yechury's journey". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 20 April 2015.
  19. ^ "National : Yechury, Brinda Karat take oath". The Hindu. 23 August 2005. Archived from the original on 14 February 2006.
  20. ^ "Government can't blame Opposition for bedlam in Parliament: Sitaram Yechury". timesofindia-economictimes.
  21. ^ Baru, Sanjaya (2014). The Accidental Prime Minister: The Making and Unmaking of Manmohan Singh. Penguin India. pp. 226–227. ISBN 9789351186380.
  22. ^ "Opposition gets amendment passed in Rajya Sabha embarrassing government". The Hindu. 3 March 2015. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  23. ^ "Embarrassment for Modi: Rajya Sabha amends note on President's speech". intoday.in.
  24. ^ a b c "Yechury criticises govt for inviting Obama on Republic Day". Zee News. 14 January 2015.
  25. ^ "Sitaram Yechury sees a fascistic project in Kashmir". The Hindu. 23 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Seema Chishti Joins The Wire as Editor". The Wire. 2 January 2023. Retrieved 2 February 2023.
  27. ^ Off The Record Ep. 06 ft, Sitaram Yechury, General Secretary, CPI(M), pp. 3:08, retrieved 26 December 2021, Luckily my wife [financially] sustains me
  28. ^ Akshay Mukul (23 June 2010). "Vina Mazumdar, the fighter". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  29. ^ "Dr Akhila Yechury: BA (Hons.), MA (Delhi), M.Phil (JNU), PhD (Cantab)". University of St. Andrews. Retrieved 21 April 2015.
  30. ^ "Sitaram Yechury's son Ashish dies of Covid-19 in Gurugram hospital - Times of India". The Times of India. 22 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  31. ^ "'Politics of BJP's Leadership': Yechury, Others Hit Out at Riots Probe, Delhi Police Responds". The Wire. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  32. ^ Staff Reporter (12 September 2020). "Police link Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav to Delhi riots". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 13 September 2020.
  33. ^ "BJP misusing power to target Opposition: Sitaram Yechury hits out at Centre over Delhi riots chargesheet". India Today. 13 September 2020. Retrieved 13 September 2020.

External links[edit]