VS Achuthanandan wants Mani to go, CPI(M) opposes move.

MM Mani not indispensable but will his removal affect LDFs image
news Politics Tuesday, December 27, 2016 - 12:38

Senior journalist and political analyst BRP Bhaskar feels that MM Mani "is not so indispensable" that he cannot be sacked from the ministry, if necessary. He welcomes the move by CPI(M) veteran VS Achuthanandan to pen a letter to the party high command on Monday seeking Kerala Electricity Minister MM Mani’s removal from the cabinet.

This comes in the wake of a trial court in Thodupuzha recently dismissing Mani’s plea to relieve him of charges of murder of Anchery Baby way back in 1982.

“But how the masses will perceive any move by the government in this regard is arguable. Many staunch party men will oppose any move to remove Mani, while others would view the same in a positive light,” Bhaskar opines. 

According to him, VS has adopted a similar posture in some other issues too lately.

“If this is indicative of a new style within the CPI(M), it is indeed welcome, as it shows a break from its Stalinist past. I don't think any Indian political party can claim to be democratic in the sense that it practises democracy from within. Most parties do allow some scope for internal differences of opinion. CPI (M) was one party that did not allow even that," he says. 

This comes hardly after a month after MM Mani, the tongue-lashing CPI(M) MLA from Udumbanchola in Idukki, was made a minister in the Pinarayi Vijayan cabinet following the controversial exit of Excise Minister EP Jayarajan.

In his letter to the party high command, VS pointed out that it was not appropriate for someone who is involved in criminal cases to continue in the position of the minister of the state. He added that if Mani were to continue as the minister, it would be in violation of the party stance in this regard. 

The state party committee has however come out in favour of Mani, with state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan maintaining that there was nothing wrong in Mani continuing in the cabinet.

Nepotism allegations against EP Jayarajan forced him to resign from the Pinarayi ministry. This in turn paved the way for Mani’s entry into the cabinet. Jayarajan's resignation was deemed an honourable exit by many. 

"I am not aware of the letter VS has sent seeking Mani's removal. There is nothing that disqualifies Mani from continuing in the post. Jayarajan resigned following allegations against him while he was the minister. But that is not the case with Mani. The murder charge was there even when he contested the assembly polls," Kodiyeri averred, while speaking to journalists in Thiruvananthapuram. 

Even as Kodiyeri Balakrishnan chose to distance himself from the whole letter fiasco, can the party high command ignore VS' demands? Can the LDF government afford to lose the services of yet another minister in a matter of just a few months into power?