The ‘bar bribe’ row has been hogging the limelight after the revelations of the bar owner Biju Ramesh, against Finance Minister, K M Mani surfaced on October 31st.
The allegations put forward by Ramesh stirred up a hullabaloo landing Mani into trouble. The Minister had allegedly asked for a bribe of Rs 5 crore for reopening the closed bars and kept pressing for the remaining amount when the bar owner refused to pay anything further than Rs 1 crore. The breaking news was leaked on a channel under CPM ownership. Ramesh had also said that he was ready to present all the evidences before the Court if required and did not care about the consequences. V S Achuthanandhan demanded a CBI inquiry into the matter which was opposed by the CPI (M) State leadership saying there was no need for such an inquiry. Instead, it called for an inquiry by a special team of Kerala police under judicial supervision. Despite all the uproar, the feeble response of the opposition party is dubious. Compounding the fact is the absence of rallies and protests by the DYFI and CPI (M) followers even after one week of surfacing of the graft allegations.
Politicians engaging in blame games and accusing their opponents of graft allegations are common in the state. But in this case, the person paying the bribe is testifying the allegations and ready with the evidences. CPI (M) State Secretary Pinarayi Vijayan called a press conference on November 6, one week after the leaks by Ramesh to inform the party's stance in the matter. He said that a judicial inquiry was not practical and added that RSP and SJD, that were once part of LDF, were not needed in the Left Front. Pinarayi however demanded Mani’s resignation. The liquor ban imposed by the government was to make Kerala, a liquor free state in the coming years. While the initiative spearheaded by Sudheeran was widely welcomed by the masses, the people from the ruling party are creating obstacles in its way. Once in power, people forget about the responsibilities and indulge in petty political games yearning for more power and wealth. Politicians don’t seem to realize that the people who voted them to power are aware of everything. It is high time the people concerned change their modus operandi before it is too late.