Kottayam: In an embarrassment to Kerala Congress(M), a coalition partner of ruling UDF, party vice chairman P C George on Sunday fired another salvo saying KC(M) supremo and state Finance Minister KM Mani, facing bribery charges in the bar scam, should have resigned when the controversy erupted.
George, who has made several controversial statements on the issue earlier, told reporters here that if Mani had put in his papers when the controversy broke out, he would have got an opportunity to bounce back after proving his innocence.
Cautioning that the bar scam would cost both KC-M and the ruling front UDF dear, George, who is also the government chief whip, said that if Mani failed to emerge unscathed, it would be a big setback to the Front during the local body elections this year and Assembly polls next year.
The KC(M) vice chairman was also conspicuous by his absence during the reception accorded to Mani at Pala, his home town, yesterday.
George had in the past few days aired his views against the party leadership related to the bar scam.
However, Mani later rejected George's remarks stating that it was his personal view only. The minister also said it was his party which decided that he should not resign based on mere allegations.
Coming out in support of Mani, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also said there was no circumstances at present to warrant his resignation.
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.
The state 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 should not present it.