Kerala, November 21
The Kerala CPI(M) on Sunday decided to make senior party leader MM Mani from Idukki – who had stirred a hornets’ nest four years back by publicly announcing that his party was in the habit of killing political rivals as per prepared hit-lists-a Minister in the party-led Government headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
The CPI(M) has also decided to make some other major changes in the portfolios held by Ministers. Minister AC Moideen, currently in charge of Cooperation and Tourism, may be given the Industries portfolio and Kadakampally Surendran, presently Power Minister, will be given the charge of Tourism and Cooperation apart from Devaswom which he is already holding. The situation for the induction of Mani, known for his unrestrained comments and use of objectionable language, into the Cabinet was brought about by the resignation of CPI(M) central committee member EP Jayarajan as Industries minister on October 14 over charges of nepotism. Mani, a State secretariat member of the party, may be made the Power Minister. “The party State committee has decided to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of EP Jayarajan. The committee’s decision is to recommend MM Mani to the Cabinet. It has asked the Chief Minister to make necessary rearrangements in the portfolios allocated to the Cabinet members,” said State CPI(M) secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on Sunday.
With the party deciding to include Mani in the Cabinet, the chances of Jayarajan returning to the Government have come to an end. Jayarajan was hoping that he might be re-inducted once an ongoing probe against him was over. A visibly upset Jayarajan reportedly left the State secretariat meeting in Thiruvananthapuram without stopping to interact with anybody and skipped Sunday’s State committee meeting.
Mani, a first-time legislator from Udumbanchola in the high ranges of Idukki and has been with the party since early 1960s, responded to reports of his imminent induction into the Cabinet by saying, “A very ordinary person like me could reach this position only because I am part of the CPI(M). This would never happen in any of the bourgeois parties.”
Mani had got into a huge controversy in May, 2012 after his much-criticised statement during a public speech that his party used to physically eliminate its rivals on the basis of prepared hit-lists. “The CPI(M) has experience of dealing with and finishing off those who deserved it… We will kill those who are to be killed and we have the courage to admit it,” he said in the speech. He then went on to say that his party had “finished off” those who had worked against it in Santhanpara, Idukki after preparing a list. “The first one was shot dead. The second was beaten to death while the third was stabbed to death. With this, the Congress fled the place leaving their Khadi clothes behind,” Mani, who was the party’s Idukki district secretary, said. To newsmen’s query whether he could continue to make such controversial comments even after becoming Minister, he said, “Slips of tongue are not big matters. It would be new sky and new earth from now on. As far as my language is concerned, every person will have his style. My focus will now be on fulfilling the expectations people have in me.” Once the Industries portfolio is transferred to him, Moideen, third-time legislator with a real proletarian background, will become the No2 in the Pinarayi Government. Moideen is being elevated to this position considering his track-record as Cooperation and Tourism Minister. He may also hold the portfolios of Sports and Youth Affairs additionally.
Kadakampally Surendran, who had triggered a controversy recently by announcing that RSS Shakhas at temples would be legally banned, is being given the Cooperation portfolio at a time when the State’s cooperative sector is facing serious problems following the Reserve Bank’s refusal to grant cooperative banks and societies the permission for exchanging the demonetized Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 notes.
Kerala, November 21