Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Congress (M) vice-chairman P C George has informed Chief Minister Oommen Chandy about his readiness to quit the post of government Chief Whip.
Talking to the media outside Cliff House after calling on Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Muslim League leader P K Kunjalikutty here on Friday, George said he had discussed all the issues with the leaders and would proceed according to their decision.
“I haven’t handed over the resignation letter to the Chief Minister. There is no question of leaving the UDF. Nobody in the Front has misbehaved with me. The Chief Minister said he would talk with the other leaders and inform me about it. Till then, we can just wait,” George said.
Internal squabbling in Kerala Congress (M), the third largest partner in the ruling UDF, took a new turn today with party supremo and Finance Minister K M Mani, seeking removal of its vice chairman P C George from the post of government Chief Whip.
The party MLAs, who met here informally Thursday, reportedly expressed displeasure over the frequent statements by George causing embarrassment to the party and the ruling front.
The MLAs were of the opinion that if no action was taken against George, the strength and trust of the party would be eroded. General feeling in the party was that George had "crossed" all limits of party discipline and it was difficult to continue like this, party sources said.
George, however, said his ouster was a demand of just K M Mani and his family. “I don’t think any other leaders in the party have got a problem with me.”
Mani had met Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at his official residence and conveyed his demand. However, he refused to comment anything in this regard.
The demand for George’s ouster came in the wake of him making repeated media statements against Mani after he presented the budget in the Assembly amidst protests by opposition LDF on March 13.
George had stated that Mani, facing bribery charges in the bar scam, should have resigned when the controversy erupted in last November.
He had said that if Mani had put in his papers when the controversy broke out, the latter would have got an opportunity to bounce back after proving his innocence.
He had also stated that he was not averse to relinquish the post of government Chief Whip.
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.
KC(M) has nine MLAs in the Assembly. Besides Mani, P J Joseph, holding Irrigation and Water Resources portfolio, is the another minister of the party in the UDF government.