Mani denies party is unhappy in UDF, planning to leave

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Kottayam (Kerala), July 17 (IANS) Kerala Congress-Mani supremo K.C. Mani, who had to quit as Finance Minster in the previous UDF government last year in connection with the bar scam, on Sunday denied his party was planning to walk out of the Congress-led alliance.

The relations between his Kerala Congress-Mani and the Congress have reportedly soured since Mani had to step down and, on Sunday, party leaders called for leaving the alliance.

The KC-M steering committee meeting held here saw many of the speakers saying that the Congress had ditched them and a way out to end this was to sit as a separate block in the assembly. But no final decision was taken.

Mani, however, denied that his party members were against continuing in the UDF.

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“At the moment, there is no plan of going out of the UDF. The reports that a majority in the party wish to leave the UDF is just baseless and has no truth in it,” he told reporters after the meeting.

KC-Mani is the third biggest constituent of the Congress-led United Democratic Front. In the recent assembly elections, it contested 15 seats and won six. It had nine legislators in the previous assembly.

There is some thinking that Mani was trapped by the Congress in the bar scam after speculations arose that he in 2014 might cross over to the Left Democratic Front, which had promised him the chief minister’s post for a short time.

Relations between Mani and the Congress took a turn for the worse after a bar owner accused him of taking bribe to open closed down bars.

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At the end of the probe, following an adverse court remark, Mani had to step down as Minister.

However, Mani, the longest-serving legislator in the state, knows well that with the CPI-M-led LDF government under Pinarayi Vijayan on a strong wicket with 91 members in the 140-member assembly, his prospects there are minimal, say observers.



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