Finally, K M Mani resigns

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K M Mani, Kerala Finance Minister
K M Mani, Kerala Finance Minister

Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani has made the announcement to put in his papers after a day following the Kerala High Court questioning the integrity of Kerala Finance Minister K M Mani continuing in his office when a Vigilance investigation was on against him. The 82-year-old Kerala Congress (Mani) leader, the long serving MLA in the country, had a disgraceful quit on Tuesday evening.  He announced his resignation on Tuesday evening after under pressure from leaders of the Congress and other allies of the ruling UDF from whole of Monday.  The resignation has come as a big blow to Mani who showed no remorse even when High Court questioned him for continuing in the office. One of the long serving MLAs in the country, the exit of Mani is doomed as an end to his political career.

He, while announcing his resignation, said that he quit his post as sign of respect for the rule of law. “I am thankful for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and other colleagues in my front for lending support during the most adverse of situation. I will lend support to UDF and the government,” said Mani to reporters. The resignation letter will be sent to chief minister through a special emissary later.

Along with Mani, Government Chief Whip Thomas Unniyadan also resigned from his post as a show of solidarity to Mani. However, P J Joseph, the vice-chairman of KC (M), has refused to step down along with Mani. Mani had demanded the resignation of Joseph in the steering committee meeting of KC (M) on Tuesday afternoon. However, the veteran leader could not be able to convince Joseph to step down along with him. Mani, who showed no remorse even when High Court ruled against him, stepped after the pressures from his party and front mounted on Tuesday. Opposition LDF too demanded for the resignation of Mani since the court ruled against him on Monday.

The exit of Mani had come after when High Court justice B Kemal Pasha questioned his rationale in continuing in office when he considered an appeal by the director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB) on the bar bribery. The allegation was that a bribe of Rs 5 crore was paid to Mani by the representatives of bar owners association for a favourable decision in opening the closed 418 bars in the state. The Justice said that he was leaving the matter to Mani’sconscience and reminded of the Shakespearian saying that ‘Caesar’s wife must be above suspicion’ while delivering the opinion on the appeal by Vigilance. “In a case like this, it is quite natural for the common man to entertain a feeling that there cannot be a proper investigation by state machinery when the accused is continuing as minister.

With clamour call for Mani’s resignation intensified from Monday, the veteran leader has taken a stand not to step down. This has given dramatic sequences in UDF with Congress come under pressure from its senior leaders. High Command too had interfered in the matter. At last Mani relented to the pressure after when the KC (M) steering committee discussed the matter in a two-hour long discussion on Tuesday afternoon. Mani, meanwhile, delayed his decision when P J Joseph, the vice-chairman of the party, and his faction was not ready to resign along with Mani as a show of solidarity. Joseph faction had made it clear that they will not step down along with Mani. After when, the leader had expressed his willingness to step-down and announced the resignation on Tuesday evening at 7.30.