CPI(M) still needs its old leaders: Yechury

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New Delhi, Feb 25: The CPI (M) will not let party patriarchs -- Jyoti Basu and H S Surjeet -- quit the Polit Bureau despite their inability to continue because of health reasons, senior party leader Sitaram Yechury said today. ''The party wants them to continue to benefit from their elderly advice and experience,'' said Mr Yechury in response to a question pertaining to Mr Basu's desire to quit the party Polit Bureau on grounds of ill health.

Another senior party leader and Polit Bureau member M K Pandhe also echoed the same views saying the party sees them as invaluable assets and the it wanted to gain from their decades long services in public life. While Mr Basu played a major role in resolving various tangles involving the UPA government and the Left parties and the ''sharp differences'' among the Left constituents, Mr Surjeet until recent times played an important role in sorting out contradictions of the ruling Congress and the Left constituents.

Mr Basu, who holds the world record of serving as Chief Minster of a democratically elected state government for 24 years, is 94 and Mr Surjeet, four time party general secretary, is 93.

Both the leaders have not been attending the party Polit Bureau meetings for a long time due to old age but the party does not want them to quit and is keen to utilise their services in any manner which is suitable to them, Mr Yechury added.

UNI

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