Thiruvananthapuram | Internal squabbling in Kerala Congress (M), the third largest partner in the ruling UDF, took a new turn today with MLAs, loyal to party supremo and Finance Minister K M Mani, seeking removal of its vice chairman P C George from the post of government Chief Whip.
According to sources, party MLAs, who met here informally today, expressed displeasure over the frequent statements by George causing embarrassment to the party and the ruling front. The MLAs were of the opinion that if no action was taken against George, the strength and trust of the party would be eroded.
General feeling in the party was that George had crossed all limits of party discipline and it was difficult to continue like this, party sources said. Later, Mani met Chief Minster Oommen Chandy at his official residence and conveyed party’s feelings. However, Mani refused to comment anything in this regard.
The demand of the MLAs came in the wake of George making repeated media statements against Mani after he presented the budget in the Assembly amdist protests by opposition LDF on March 13. George had stated that Mani, facing bribery charges in the bar scam, should have resigned when the controversy erupted in last Novemeber.
He had said that if Mani had put in his papers when the controversy broke out, the latter would have got an opportunity to bounce back after proving his innocence. He had also stated that he was not averse to relinquish the post of government Chief Whip.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had recently registered a case against Mani in connection with the charge that he had accepted bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licences. KC(M) has nine MLAs in the Assembly. Besides Mani, P J Joseph, holding Irrigation and Water Resources portfolio, is the another minister of the party in the UDF government.