Visakhapatnam: The Communist Party of India-Marxist on Sunday elected Sitaram Yechury as the new general secretary of the party.
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 unanimously approved it.
The election of 62-year-old Yechury came after Pillai, who was reportedly in the fray for the top party post, withdrew, ensuring that the party continued its tradition of electing its leader unanimously.
Prakash Karat later made the formal announcement before the media. Yechury, who termed the new task as challenging, introduced the 16-member politburo.
The 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. It approved the names finalised by the outgoing politburo on Saturday night. This was followed by the election of the new politburo and the general secretary by the CC.
Apart from 91 members, the CC has five special invitees and five permanent invitees.
Currently a member of the Rajya Sabha, Yechury has been a member of the CPI-M's Central Committee since 1984 and the politburo since 1992.
A politician, economist, writer and columnist, Yechury is known for his good communication skills and is seen by many in the party as someone who could strengthen the party, facing a crisis with a series of electoral reverses.
Born on August 12, 1952 in a Telugu family in then Madras, Yechury did his schooling mostly in Andhra Pradesh. He stood first in the CBSE higher secondary examination. He graduated from St Stephen's College, Delhi in Economics (Hons) and did M.A. in economics from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Delhi. He discontinued his Ph.D due to his arrest during the Emergency.
Yechury, whose father S.S. Yechury was an employee in the Road Transport Corporation, was influenced by the communist movement during his student days. He joined the Student Federation of India (SFI) in 1974.
The young leader was arrested for opposing internal emergency in 1975. He was later elected the president of JNU's students union.
In 1978, he became the national joint secretary of SFI and went on to become the national president of the student's body.
In 1984, he was invited to the Central Committee of the CPI-M and the next year elected to the top decision making body of the party.
Yechury was first elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2005. He served on various parliamentary committees and was re-elected to the Rajya Sabha in 2011.
The communist leader has been playing a key role in rallying the opposition, which has a majority in the upper house.
Yechury is the author of books like "Left Hand Drive", "What is this Hindu Rashtra", "Socialism in 21st Century", "Communalism vs Secularism" and "Ghrina Ki Rajniti" (Hindi).
Married to journalist Seema Chisti, Yechury has a daughter and two sons from his first marriage.
A sports enthusiast, he was captain of the lawn tennis team in the university. Reading, writing and listening to music are his favourite hobbies.