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Mani makes U-turn, to stay back in Assembly complex

Mani makes U-turn, to stay back in Assembly complex

Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister K M Mani has reportedly made a u-turn on his earlier decision to not stay back in the Assembly complex and leave for his official residence despite the Opposition’s plan for massive protests on the day.

The latest decision to stay back at the Assembly, reportedly taken after consultation with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, makes it clear that the Kerala Congress (M) supremo will present the budget in the State Assembly at the appointed hour Friday.

Mani, in the Assembly Thursday, pooh-poohed the Opposition charges and said his 50-year-long public life was transparent.

"All these allegations were baseless and purposefully aimed to tarnish my image," an emotional Mani said.

Maintaining that allegations against Mani were part of a political conspiracy, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also asserted that Mani himself would present the budget.

LDF took up the bar bribery issue in the Assembly Thursday on the basis of an audio tape aired by a private TV channel containing conversation between some bar owners who alleged that three Congress ministers were also involved in the scam.

The matter was raised as a notice for adjournment motion by P Thilothaman (CPI) but Speaker N Sakthan disallowed the plea for motion after the reply of Chandy.

Taking up the challenge of the ruling Front, CPI-M veteran and Opposition leader VS Achuthanandan said the government would have to face dare consequences if it let "taintd" Mani present the budget and Chandy alone would be responsible for that.

Achuthanandan said Mani's continuation as a minister was a "shame" to entire Kerala and announced that LDF was going to squat on the well of the House.

As part of their agitation, LDF has already announced a "protest resistance" tomorrow, in which thousands of LDF volunteers are expected to put a siege of the assembly complex.

Besides LDF, BJP's Yuva Morcha has also announced plans to stage dharna before the Complex.

As a precautionary step, district administration announced holiday for some of the schools in the vicinity of the Assembly Complex.

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