The crisis in Kerala’s ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) triggered by differences between Kerala Congress (Mani) chairman K M Mani and party vice president P C George, also the chief whip, has blown over on Friday after the intervention of chief minister Oommen Chandy who is keen to avoid any threat to his government that is on a wafer-thin majority.
Mani, also state finance minister, was keen to remove P C George from the chief whip’s post for his frequent utterances against many ministers including him. “I have received a letter from Mani in this regard,” the CM later confirmed it. Subsequently George offered to resign however the CM has asked him to wait till a decision was taken after consulting with other UDF constituents. The KC (M) is the third largest partner in the UDF with nine MLAs.
The UDF had recently lost the support of K B Ganesh Kumar, the lone Kerala Congress (Pillai) member after his party fell out with the ruling front. Since the Rajya Sabha poll (three seats from the state fell vacant recently) and local body elections are round the corner the UDF is keen not to take any chances.
The state vigilance department had registered a case against Mani after an office-bearer of the Kerala Bar Hotel Owners’ Association alleged that Mani took bribe from him promising a favorable liquor policy. George had said Mani should have resigned when the vigilance registered a case. Recently the state assembly had witnessed a scuffle over this injuring nine legislators and many security personnel.