Mani is not the root of all sin in Kerala
By N V Ravindranathan Nair - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Published: 25th Nov 2012 12:01:49 PM
There is more than meets the eye behind the recent arrest of M M Mani, former Idukki district secretary of the CPI(M). The arrest has come as a life saver for the UDF government which has been facing a severe crisis following Union Defence Minister A K Antony’s criticism against the government for its poor performance on the development front and party infightings.
Mani was arrested for refusing to turn up for a polygraph test in connection with the Ancheri Baby murder case, which was re-opened in the wake of his controversial hate speech made a few months back. The opposition LDF came down heavily on the government for the manner in which the senior leader was arrested. The government on the other hand, could not gain mileage for the “heroic” act of its police as the execution of Ajmal Kasab, the Mumbai terror attack convict on the same day of the arrest had claimed the time and space of the media much to the dismay of the Chief Minister OOmmen Chandy and Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.
The special investigation team led by Crime Detachment DySP A U Sunil Kumar probing the political murder against Mani had served a notice to him seeking to know whether he was willing to appear for the polygraph test by November 21. Mani declined to comply with the police demand, arguing that he was a chronic asthma patient and that the test was not a legally maintainable procedure in criminal investigations. Following this, the police arrested him in an operation code named “ring tone”.
The general perception is that government was using the opportunity to deflect the attention of the people from the crisis it had landed in following the Union Defence Minister’s open criticism. Antony’s sharp criticism of the state government for its apathy and lack of initiatives in implementing Central government projects had literally rocked the government. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy could not even offer a convincing reply to media persons’ queries. While he tried to run away from questions, the second constituent of the coalition IUML had its own reasons for raising protest. Antony had praised former industries minister Elamaram Kareem at a function for providing all support for setting up Brahmos Aerospace Thiruvananthapuram Ltd during the tenure of the previous LDF government. The incumbent Industries Minister and the Muslim League strong man P K Kunhalikutty was also present at the function. Antony had not a single word of praise for him.
K M Mani, the Finance Minister is also not happy about Antony’s snubbing of the government. He did not mince words to express his displeasure. Taking a cue from Antony, Nair Service Society(NSS) which had till recently been considered a groundswell of support for UDF, also came down against the government. NSS General Secretary G Sukumaran Nair asked the government to resign if it cannot take along the coalition as a single unit. With all its support base shaken, the Oommen Chandy led government was frantically in search of a way out to wriggle out of political isolation.
CPI(M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan responding to the arrest said Mani’s arrest and the procedures followed by police amounted to a challenge to the rule of law. Things are also not very calm within the LDF on Mani’s arrest, CPI, an LDF ally decided not to cooperate with the hartal. Though CPI resented his arrest, they refused to join the hartal.
- Sunday Standard