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Finally, K.M Mani quits

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Finally, K.M Mani quits
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Thiruvananthapuram: Finance Minister K.M. Mani on Tuesday resigned over the bar bribery scam, following hectic political parleys all day long in the state capital.

Chief Whip Thomas Unniyadan also quit his post pledging support to Mani.

Addressing reporters at his official residence, the 82-year-old Mani -- who is also the country's longest serving legislator -- said that being the state's law minister, "I have to respect the law and hence I have resigned".

"I have already informed the chief minister (Oommen Chandy) of my decision to resign. Through a special messenger, I will send my resignation to the CM," he said.

"I take this opportunity to thank the CM and all other leaders who extended support to me."

"We also wish to state that we will continue to support the United Democratic Front government," said Mani.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Chandy said there was no threat to his government.

"There is no threat to my government at all. We started four and a half years back with a majority of just two and see we have come till now... in the remaining period also, we will sail smoothly and united," he said.

Mani's resignation comes after the Kerala High Court on Monday upheld the Special Vigilance Court's direction asking for further probe in the bar scam case in which Mani is alleged to have taken bribe.

Mani has not lost a single assembly election since he first became a legislator in 1967 from Pala in Kottayam district. He has been a minister in various cabinets for more
than two decades.

On Tuesday morning, the Kerala Congress supremo's official residence in the state capital was buzz with activity.

After a five-hour meeting of the steering committee of Kerala Congress (Mani), the third biggest ally of the ruling Congress-led UDF, took place on Tuesday, Mani reportedly tried to put pressure on the Chandy government, knowing very well that if he along with his seven legislators put their foot down, the government will collapse.

But things did not work the way Mani wished, as his party's working chairman and cabinet colleague, Irrigation Minister P.J. Joseph, and two other legislators informed Chandy late on Tuesday evening that they will not resign with Mani.

Finding no support from the other allies or from the Congress, Mani asked government chief whip Thomas Unniyadan, a three-time legislator, also to put in his papers.

"Yes, we both are going to resign and the decision will be informed to the UDF. I do not know if Joseph is going to resign, but I am resigning to give my support to Mani. But we will continue to be in the UDF," Unniyadan told the media, before Mani made his announcement.

Joseph later said Mani has already clarified that their party was "united".

"Mani will decide if there is going to be a new minister. All such decisions will be made by him," said Joseph.

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