THIRUVNANTHAPURAM: CPM state secretariat has come to an understanding on initiating disciplinary action against power minister M.M. Mani in connection with his alleged derogatory remarks linked to Pompilai Orumai. The final decision on the disciplinary action will be taken at the state committee meeting which will begin on Wednesday. At the crucial secretariat meeting held at the AKG Centre here, the members discussed the controversial speech in detail. A section of members pointed out that the statement made by the minister against Pompilai Orumai was highly offensive and totally unwarranted.
The members felt that the minister should have been careful with words while speaking in public meetings. His controversial statements were not only denting government’s image but also putting them on the defensive. Besides, such irresponsible statements were being used by the opposition to put the government in the dock. The members advised Mani to change his style to avoid controversies in future. The minister who heard the members, accepted the criticism and even assured to make amends if required. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan who had disapproved Mani’s statement on Sunday when the video clip surfaced for the first time, maintained the same stand at the secretariat meeting.
The members felt that the UDF and BJP were trying to take political advantage of the agitation. When mediapersons confronted Mani after the secretariat meeting, he confirmed that there was discussion on his controversial statement. “The discussions on the issue are continuing. It will be deliberated at the state committee,” he said. When asked whether there will be disciplinary action against him, the minister said any decision taken by the party would be acceptable to him. “We cannot go forward without adhering to the party direction,” he said. Sources said the party was considering disciplinary action against Mani since there was a strong possibility of a criminal case.
With Pombalai Oruma leader Gomathy on Tuesday giving enough hints that a case should be registered against Mani as per IPC 354 A and Kerala Police Act 119 under which any person making sexually coloured remarks and performing any sexual gestures or acts degrading the dignity of women was liable to be punished. Kerala State Women’s Commission had taken a suo motu case against Mani on Monday. Meanwhile reacting to the CPM secretariat decision to take disciplinary action against Mani, Gomathy said it made no difference to their agitation and it would continue till the minister apologised directly and stepped down.
“Let Kodiyeri Balakrishnan teach the 71 year old Mani about how to speak in public and how to respect women,” she added. She said the CPM leadership was changing statements frequently. “Till yesterday all CPM leaders incouding the chief minister were saying that Mani’s statement was unacceptable and unwarranted. Today they changed their stance saying that it was Mani’s rustic style of speech. Let the CPM clarify whether abusing women was also rustic style,” she said adding that the CPM was trying to weaken their agitation. The CPM state secretariat is under pressure to act aginst Mani following the strong stand taken by women leaders inlcuidng Brinda Karat, P K Sreemathy, mnister J Mercy Kutty Amma, T N Seema and CPI leader Annie Raja....