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Mani’s remarks against ‘Pembulai Orumai’ not right: CM

Mani’s remarks against ‘Pembulai Orumai’ not right: CM

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday disowned the abusive remarks of CPI-M leader and Power Minister M M Mani against the activists of 'Pembulai Orumai', a union of women plantation workers in Munnar.

Asked about the minister’s controversial remarks, Vijayan said what Mani said was not right. “'Pembulai Orumai' is a women’s collective. It is not right to make disparaging remarks against it,” he said adding he “will talk to Mani about it.”

Addressing a public meeting in Idukki on Saturday night, Mani said he knew what all went on during the strike by 'Pembulai Orumae' (Women's Collective).

"It was a stage-managed protest led by vested interests. I know what all happened. When the strike was on, other activities were taking place in nearby forests," Mani said.

Angered by Mani's remarks, women plantation workers' leader Gomathy said they had launched a protest in Munnar town from Sunday afternoon.

"Who is Mani to speak about us? What does he know about us? We will not end our protest till the Minister apologises," a furious Gomathy said.

The 2015 strike by women plantation workers in Munnar had forced the then Oommen Chandy government to hike their wages.

Congress leader Lathika Subhash said Mani had brought shame on Kerala.

"Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should ask Mani to step down for his abusive words against plantation workers. I know the sufferings of these women," said Subhash.

Former state Congress President V.M. Sudheeran also slammed the Minister: "Mani has become a liability for Kerala."

Communist Party of India leader Prakash Babu had a Biblical take on the whole affair: "What I can say about Mani is to repeat what Jesus said -- Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing."

State CPI-M Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan refused to comment. Youth Congress President Dean Kuriakose said Mani should be "put in chains for his utterances".

Fisheries Minister and party colleague J. Mercykutty Amma dubbed the remarks "unfortunate" and said Mani should not have spoken thus. CPI-M MP P.K. Sreemathi echoed Amma's views.

State BJP leader Sobha Surendran said the Chief Minister should ask for Mani's immediate resignation.

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