Thiruvananthapuram: Indicating chinks in the Congress in Kerala over protecting Finance Minister KM Mani, facing bribery charges in the bar scam, a senior party leader on Wednesday suggested the FM takes rest as he has gone through huge physical and mental strain in the past few months and that the Chief Minister temporarily take over the portfolio.
Pandalam Sudhakaran, also a KPCC spokesperson, suggested in a Facebook post that Chief Minister Oommen Chandy should ask Mani to take a break for some time and temporarily take over the portfolio.
Mani could utilise that period for a 'brilliant comeback' and 'wash away the sins' of the charges against him during that period. Such a step would also defuse the prevailing political tension in the state, he added and wanted ruling UDF to take a collective decision in the matter.
The 82-year-old Mani, supremo of Kerala Congress(M), the third largest partner in the ruling Congress led UDF with nine MLAs in the assembly, has been in the thick of controversy since November last after the bar bribery scam broke out.
The assembly witnessed violent incidents on March 13 when Mani presented the budget amidst protests by CPI(M) led LDF Opposition, which demanded his resignation and insisted that he not present it.
The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau had recently registered a case against Mani in connection with the charge that he had accepted bribe from bar owners to renew liquor licences.
Both Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Mani have rejected the charges by bar owners and termed the allegations as 'politically motivated.'