Oppn plans to stop Mani from presenting Kerala budget

Oppn plans to stop Mani from presenting Kerala budget

Kerala Legislative Assembly complex and central parts of its capital city braced for a flashpoint on the eve of the state Budget in the wake of massive protests planned by opposition parties against scam-hit Finance Minister K M Mani.

In the backdrop of the unprecedented protests aimed at preventing budget presentation, Mani decided to stay overnight in the Assembly complex to escape hassles on the way to the Assembly on Friday.

Countering the move, legislators of the CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF), under Leader of the Opposition V S Achuthanandan, also stayed within the Assembly complex to prevent Mani from presenting the Budget, his 13th as Finance Minister.

Makeshift arrangements were made to accommodate the minister and his staff in the complex. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy also decided to stay in the complex. Ministers and ruling coalition MLAs were asked to join in as well.

Mani, however, had earlier told reporters that he would arrive at the Assembly from his official residence only in the morning on Friday.

“These challenges energise me and make me stronger,” the veteran leader and chief of Kerala Congress (M) said. Mani is facing a Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau probe into allegations that he accepted bribe from bar owners in connection with issuance of bar licences.

Opposition leaders said Mani’s change of stance proved that the protests were already a success.

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