BJP hartal demanding resignation of Mani near total

Tuesday, Jan 27, 2015,21:45 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Normal life across Kerala was today disrupted due to a day-long state-wide hartal called by BJP today demanding resignation of Finance Minister K M Mani in the wake of graft charges against him in the bar bribery scam.
Buses, taxis and autorickshaws kept off the roads and shops remained closed all over the state.
No untoward incidents were reported from any part of the state, police said.
Government offices, including the secretariat here functioned with very thin attendance.
The state government has declared a holiday for educational institutions. Calicut and Kannur Universities have postponed the examinations scheduled for the day.
All major roads in the state wore a deserted look as people stayed indoors due to hartal.
However, passengers who arrived at Railway stations and Airports unaware of the hartal call found it difficult to get transport for their onward journey.
The bar bribe scam pertains to graft allegation leveled by hotelier Biju Ramesh against Mani.
In November last, Ramesh had alleged that Mani had been given a hefty sum on the promise that he would help reopen some closed liquor bars. An FIR has been lodged in the matter for a detailed probe.
Mani, who handles Finance and Law and is supremo of key UDF constituent Kerala Congress(M), had rubbished the charge, saying Ramesh had no credibility as he had been making contradictory statements on the issue.
Both Congress led ruling UDF and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had rallied behind Mani and expressed confidence in the Finance Minister and maintained that he (Mani) would present the budget this year too.
A report from Coimbatore said that Tamil Nadu State Transport corporatio buses plying to Kerala from the city were cancelled due to the hartal in that state.
Some buses plied upto Walayar bordering Tamil Nadu and Kerala, police said.
Kerala bound trains were running to capacity following cancellation of the buses from the city and nearby Pollachi, they said.
To protest against the hartal, good samaritans in motorbikes and luxury cars offered help to stranded rail passengers in Kochi.
Private buses, taxies and autorickshaws were completely off the roads.
Though work of the Kochi metro was not affected, normal life was hit in various parts of Ernakulam district due to the hartal.
Commercial establishments had also downed shutters.