Published: Tue, April 25, 2017
Global | By Maureen Mccoy

Amid oppn protest, Kerala Minister Mani says 'didn't insult women'

Amid oppn protest, Kerala Minister Mani says 'didn't insult women'

The opening day of the Kerala Assembly session on Tuesday witnessed chaos with the opposition demanding the resignation of State Power Minister M.M. Mani for his controversial remarks about women plantation workers, but Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan ruled it out.

But Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan said they could raise it at the appropriate time.

Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan MLA sought permission for presenting an urgent resolution and demanded that the comments of Minister Mani should be discussed halting the proceedings of the Assembly. It was a 17-minute-speech and if it is played full then people will understand the reality, ' said Mani.

Mani's remarks allegedly questioning the character of women activists, who had previous year held a series of protests against plantation companies, have invited widespread criticism from many quarters including his own party leaders.

Mani was referring to an agitation at a Munnar tea estate in 2015, when women workers got together under the banner of Pombilai Orumai and organised a campaign to get their wages hiked. It was to this that Mani was reacting on Monday when he said he was ready to resign if the party asked him. "My comments were edited and used to defame the government", MM Mani told India Today. "A section of the media also appears to have twisted his speech", said Vijayan.

Mani said on Monday, April 24, that he would resign as the state's power minister if his party - the CPI (M) - asked him to. Some vested interests have blown it out of proportion to make political capital out of it.

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Mani said he would act according to the instructions of the party.

While the CPI (M) has maintained a studied silence on the remarks, the CPI, a partner in the ruling coalition and opposition parties have come out strongly against Mani.

Meanwhile, activists of the Youth Congress and the KSU took out a protest march in Thiruvananthapuram seeking resignation of Mani.

The opposition United Democratic Front called for the ouster of Mani from the cabinet, while the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance called for a hartal in Idukki in support of the strike of Pempilai Orumai.

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