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Kerala assembly disrupted for second day over MM Mani's resignation

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala assembly on Wednesday was disrupted for the second consecutive day as Congress-led opposition demanded Power Minister MM Mani's resignation for his controversial remarks on women plantation workers.

Seeking leave for an adjournment motion to discuss this issue, Congress legislator VD Sateeshan said the collective responsibility of the Pinarayi Vijayan government has disappeared with the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) and Communist Party of India (CPI) ministers differing on every issue.

"Vijayan and Mani say one thing, while the CPI ministers say the opposite, which has reached a high over the eviction proceedings in Munnar, that was begun by the Revenue Department headed by a CPI minister. It's most unfortunate that Mani has used his power to abuse women and that too the hapless plantation workers in Munnar," Sateeshan said.

"The police and the CPM in Munnar are threatening the women plantation workers belonging to the 'Pembulai Orumai' (women's collective) to call off their protests. It is unfair by a party like CPM which has led several strikes itself," added Sateeshan.

MM Mani. Image Courtesy: MM Mani's website

MM Mani. Image Courtesy: MM Mani's website

On Sunday, TV channels aired a speech made by Mani on Saturday night, where he was seen using abusive language against the plantation workers who took part in a protest in Munnar in 2015.

Things turned even worse when four women plantation workers began an indefinite protest, demanding that Mani should come to Munnar and apologise for his remarks and then quit. Both the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party has come out to support the hapless women.

Vijayan dismissed the protest by the Congress as nothing but one where they are unnecessarily raking up a non issue.

"It appears you have a dearth of issues and hence you are raking this protest by the women's collective again and again. What you must realise is that its President has disowned this protest while you continue to rake it up again. The local populace at Munnar has also ignored the protest after it became clear that the media had aired an edited copy of the speech made by Mani. He should be left alone as he has done no wrong," said Vijayan.

Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala said that things have gone haywire in the Vijayan government as explained in the CPI party organ, where it rebuts each and every claim that Vijayan makes about governance.

"If there was collective responsibility, the Chief Minister would have been told about clamping of Section 144 and also would have been informed about demolishing a cross from usurped land, but you (Vijayan) did not have any clue when the revenue department undertook eviction near Munnar. We have made it clear that Mani has to quit and we will continue our protest till he resigns," said Chennithala.

Soon after Chennithala's speech, the entire opposition started slogan shouting and with the speaker failing to curb the protest, the assembly was adjourned for the day.

On Thursday, the session will be held at the old assembly complex to mark the 60th anniversary of the first Kerala government and will resume in the new complex on Monday.

In a related department, the CPM is likely to initiate action against Mani for his remarks and could be a censure, but with the opposition firm on his resignation, this impasse could well carry into the next week.

Updated Date: Apr 26, 2017 13:54 PM

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