Thiruvananthapuram: The CPM state committee on Sunday decided to induct controversial party secretariat member M.M. Mani into the Pinarayi Vijayan ministry in place of Mr E.P. Jayarajan who had to resign following a nepotism row.
Announcing the decision, CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said that the Chief Minister will decide the portfolio. Sources said that Mr Mani, who may be given the power portfolio along with the devaswom department, will be sworn in at a function to be held at 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday.
His induction will necessitate a reallocation of portfolios. Mr A.C. Moideen will be shifted to the industries department while the present power minister Kadakampally Surendran will be in charge of cooperatives and tourism, sports and youth welfare.
Mr Mani told reporters that he was happy to have been inducted into the Cabinet and was indebted to the party. It was for the Chief Minister to decide his portfolio. “I will try my best to handle any department given. I am not a minister of Idukki alone but will work for the entire people of the state,” he said. When asked whether he would alter his style, he said each one has one’s own style, including V.S. Achuthanandan and Oommen Chandy. We should move on accepting all that,” he said.
Mr Mani had made headlines in 2012 and faced murder charges following his statement at a rally that his party had finished off the political rivals in the past. Following this, he was removed as the Idukki district secretary of the CPM.
This was one of the reasons why Mr Mani, an MLA from Udumbanchola, was not included in the cabinet in the first place even when all other secretariat members who were elected as MLAs got berths in the ministry.
Mr Mani, popularly known as Maniyasan, had recently created another controversy by calling the CPI ministers ‘stupid.’ He was Idukki district secretary for eight terms after being elected for the first time to the post in 1985. He continued in the post in 1988, 1991, 1993, 1997, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2012. Though he contested the Assembly polls in 1996, he was defeated by Mr E.M. Augusthy of the Congress. But he tasted success this time.
Sources said that Mr E.P. Jayajaran was not happy with the decision to include Mr Mani in the cabinet. Mr Jayarajan, who was present at the state secretariat meeting in the morning, stayed away during the state committee in the afternoon. Though Ms P.K. Sreemathi MP, sister-in -aw of Mr Jayarajan, had tried to speak in the state committee, she was not given permission by state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.
The state committee is learnt to have censured CPM state committee member Pirapancode Murali and Thiruvananthapuram district committee member B.S. Rajeev within the committee. It decided to recast the committees in the Poonjar constituency over the dismal performance of the party there.