Thiruvananthapuram | UDF government in Kerala today plunged into a major crisis after the High Court upheld further probe in the bar bribery case involving Finance Minister K M Mani, with demands for his resignation arising out from different quarters, including section from Congress.
An emergency meeting of the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) leaders has been called here tomorrow to discuss the new development in the bribery scam that has haunted the government for the past one year. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who was away from the state capital, rushed back and told reporters at Cliff House, his official residence, that a meeting of UDF leaders would be held here tomorrow and a decision would be taken.
I have talked to most of the leaders, including Mani, on the matter and a meeting has been called tomorrow, he said. Meanwhile, 82-year-old Mani, who is also the chief of Kerala Congress(M) with 9 MLAs in the assembly, told reporters at Kochi that his party would hold a meeting tomorrow to discuss the development. He also charged that there was some conspiracy against him.
Asked if he would put in his papers, Mani said all things will be discussed in tomorrow’s meeting. Mani, who was in his daughter’s residence, was blocked by CPI(M)-led LDF agitators demanding his resignation. Today’s development comes two day’s after the severe drubbing received by UDF in the local body polls.
The LDF Opposition, which was on warpath seeking Mani’s removal from the cabinet ever since the scam broke out last year, was quick to once again press for his removal. CPI(M) state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told reporters that Mani and Chandy should resign immediately, while Marxist veteran V S Achuthanandan wanted Mani to quit if he had any self respect remaining.
Joining the chorus for Mani’s resignation were, Congress second rung leaders including V D Sateeshan, T N Pratapan and Anil Kumar, who openly sought Mani’s resignation. Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala said the crisis has to be resolved as quickly as possible. Kerala High Court today upheld further probe in the bar bribery case ordered by a Vigilance Court, in which an FIR has been filed against Mani.
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