First CPI(M) Congress sans Surjit, Jyoti

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Coimbatore, Mar 28 (UNI) For the first time in the history of CPI(M), party veteran leaders Harkishan Singh Surjit and Jyoti Basu will not be present for the party's national congress, beginning here tomorrow.

The two veteran leaders would not attend the 19th party congress due to ill health, CPI(M) Central Committee Member Brinda Karat told newspersons here today.

She said a message of Mr Basu would be read during the inaugural function tomorrow.

Apart from deliberating on the present political situation, the Party Congress would discuss rising prices of essential commodities, agrarian crisis, UPA government's performance and the Palestine issue.

Ms Karat said 722 delegates and 11 observers from all over the country would attend the Congress.

The Congress would elect a new Central Committee, which would elect new politburo members, she said adding that 11 eleven veteran communist leaders would be honoured in the Congress.

To a question whether Mr Surjit and Mr Basu would continue in politburo, Ms Karat said the congress would discuss it and take a decision.

UNI KS AJ VD HS1804

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