Thiruvananthapuram | CPI(M)-led LDF opposition in Kerala today said it would intensify agitation against Finance Minister K M Mani and demanded his resignation over the bar bribery row while making it clear that the Front would not allow him to present the Budget next month. As part of the agitation, the Front decided to hold people’s trial at panchayat level on March 7, Front convener Vaikom Viswan told reporters here after a state committee meeting of the LDF.
He said that Mani presenting the Budget in the Assembly was against the state’s social and political culture and also a challenge to people in the state. Mani should either resign on his own or Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should remove him from the post, he said, alleging that Chandy was protecting Mani as some other ministers in the state cabinet were also corrupt. However, he said the Front had not taken any final decision on how to take on Mani in the Assembly session beginning on March 6.
The LDF has been boycotting Mani after a vigilance case was registered against him in connection with the bar scam, based on a complaint by a bar owner that the minister had taken bribe. The bar bribe scam pertains to graft allegation against Mani by a leading hotelier.
On other issues discussed in the meeting, chaired by CPI(M) veteran and state opposition leader V S Achuthanandan, Viswom said the LDF wanted the government to reduce the bus charge in correspondence to the fall in the price of petrol and diesel.
The Front also decided to extend support to the joint farmers’ forum of rubber growers who were agitating against the ‘wrong’ economic policies of the state and central governments that had led to sharp fall in the prices of natural rubber, he added.
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