Bar bribe row: BJP Hartal on Tuesday; LDF also to step up stir against Mani

Thursday, Jan 22, 2015,21:55 IST By metro vaartha A A A

Thiruvanathapuram | Opposition CPI-M led LDF and BJP in Kerala today decided to intensify their agitation demanding resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani in the wake of graft allegation against him in the bar bribery scam even as KPCC President V M Sudheeran extended support to Mani.
LDF liaison committee resolved to boycott Mani while BJP called for a state-wide hartal on January 27 in support of its demand.    Stating that Congress in the state had already made its stand clear on the matter, Sudheeran endorsed the statement of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy that Mani would present the state budget for the year 2015-16 in the coming Assembly session.
He said the Chief Minister had made the position clear and wanted Congress leaders to desist from making controversial and dissent statement in the matter.    KPCC President’s remark came in the wake of KPCC Executive Committee member Ajay Tharayil’s observation during a TV debate last night that it would be better if Chief Minister takes over the Finance portfolio and present the budget.
Tharayil had also said that he was expressing the emotion of Congressmen in the state. Sudheeran also said that party was seized of the matter and discussion was progressing among its leaders.    Meanwhile, talking to reporters after the LDF meeting at Thrissur, Front Convener Vaikom Viswam said it would take out a march to the secretariat here and Taluk Headquarters on February 3 as part of the agitation againt Mani.    LDF would boycott the public functions of Mani and stir would continue till he resigns, Viswam added.
Announcing the party’s programme, BJP State President V Muraleedharan said 12-hour hartal would be held from dawn to dusk.    The bar bribe scam, which pertains to graft allegation against Mani, levelled by the hotelier, took a new twist with TV channels airing telephone tapes of purported conversation between Pillai and Ramesh. Pillai was also heard making new corruption charges against Mani during the conversation.
In November last, Ramesh had alleged that Mani had been given a hefty sum on the promise that he would help in reopening some closed liquor bars. An FIR has been lodged in the matter for a detailed probe.    Mani, who handles Finance and Law and supremo of key UDF constituent Kerala Congress (M), had rubbished the charge, asserting Ramesh had no credibility as he had been making contradictory statements on the issue.

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