CM defends Mani in Kerala assembly
The Kerala assembly on Tuesday witnessed noisy scenes over Power Minister MM Mani's alleged anti-women remarks with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan defending him and asserting that his words had been distorted. The Congress-led opposition UDF disrupted the assembly proceedings on the first day itself demanding Mani's ouster, leading to the early adjournment of the House for the day.
They said Mani's alleged offensive language was a 'disgrace' to the state and was an offence under the IPC section 294 (causing annoyance by obscene acts and songs), entailing three-month jail term on conviction.
Vijayan said Mani, who hails from the high range Idukki district, had used colloquial language while addressing a function, which was 'distorted and 'magnified' by the media. Significantly, the chief minister had denounced earlier Mani's remarks on women.
The protests had erupted in various parts of the state demanding the minister's ouster over his alleged remarks against activists of 'Pembila Orumai,' an outfit of the women plantation workers, and the IAS officer carrying out evictions from encroached government land at Munnar in Idukki district.
Demanding Mani's apology and resignation, the two 'Pembila Orumai' activists have gone on an indefinite fast in Munnar along with AAP leader and environmental activist C R Neelakantan.
"Mani himself had offered an explanation and expressed regret so there is no need for a debate," Vijayan said replying to a notice for adjournment motion by the UDF on the controversy on the eviction drive in Munnar and Mani's remarks.
Mani, in his reply, maintained that he had not used any offensive language against women. "I have not used the word woman even once in my 17-minute speech," said Mani adding that a section of media was against him.