Kerala

‘Probe report’ launches another war of words

Kerala Congress (M) leader P.J. Joseph and district UDF chairman Mons Joseph, MLA, holding discussions with Congress leaders Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and K.C. Joseph, both MLAs, at the Kottayam District Congress Committee office on Monday.  

Having fallen apart after an association lasting four decades the antagonism between the Congress and the Kerala Congress (M) led by Jose K. Mani is deepening, with both sides entering into a bitter fight over the bar bribery scam.

Intensifying its attack on the estranged ally, the District Congress Committee in Kottayam led by Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan and K.C. Joseph, MLAs, on Monday demanded the resignation of Mani group members from all seats they had won as United Democratic Front candidates. “Since Jose K. Mani has decided to step down as Rajya Sabha member to uphold the principle of political morality, the same should be applicable to others, including the Lok Sabha member from Kottayam,” Mr. Radhakrishnan said.

Protest at 5,000 locations

The Congress on Tuesday will stage protests at 5,000 locations across Kottayam demanding the resignation of Kottayam MP Thomas Chazhikadan and Kanjirappally MLA N. Jayaraj.

Responding to the alleged conspiracy behind the bar bribery case, Congress leader Joseph Vazhakkan challenged Mr. Mani to prove that even a single leader from the Congress was involved in it. “The so-called investigation report was fabricated by Mr. Mani with the support of his aides, including a hotelier in Kochi. If he continues to spread such lies for political gains, I will be forced to reveal more about the episode,” said Mr. Vazhakkan.

Mr. Vazhakkan’s remarks assume significance in view of the leakage of a report, purportedly prepared by a private agency, which accused Congress leaders, including Mr. Vazhakkan, of trapping K.M. Mani in the scam. Though Mr. Mani was quick to deny any link to the report, the Congress leadership regards it as a ploy by the estranged ally to put them under pressure.

Mr. Mani on Monday denied the allegations raised by Biju Ramesh, leader of the bar hotels’ association. “Those who hunted down my father are now targeting me. One can easily recognise the motive behind Mr. Ramesh coming up with a fresh set of allegations,” he said.

Joseph cautious

P.J. Joseph, leader of the rival KC(M) faction, was cautious in his response to the latest controversy. “It is up to Mr. Mani to respond to the allegations raised by Mr. Ramesh. The bar bribery scam, as far as I know, was a hoax,” Mr. Joseph told mediapersons.

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Printable version | Nov 26, 2020 9:55:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/probe-report-launches-another-war-of-words/article32896336.ece

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