THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Breaking his silence amid rumours and media hype that he was keen to become Chief Minister in one way or the other, Kerala Congress supremo and Finance Minister K M Mani made it clear on Tuesday that he will not be scheming personally or supporting any backdoor moves to “acquire the CM post” now or later.
“I cannot give an explanation to the media every day. Nothing of the sort was discussed in our party. I haven’t tilted or carried away (on the scope of becoming Chief Minister) even a wee bit over the campaign”, Mani told ‘Express’.
He also stoutly denied media reports that he had held parleys with CPM leaders like deputy opposition leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan on this score. On coming to know during the course of interaction with ‘Express’ that a TV channel is scrolling such a news, he immediately got in touch with those concerned and denounced it.
Mani also said that changes in politics could happen any time but he will not do it with the aim of becoming the Chief Minister of the state. “There is an ocean of difference between the two. Political discussions and a political line are imperative for such crucial matters. The political culture of the UDF and the LDF is totally different,” he said.
Mani, however, reminded that the numerical strength of MLAs with a party alone is not which matters in politics and change in a state like Kerala.
On Kerala Congress leaders like P C George and Antony Raju projecting him for the Chief Minister’s post, Mani dismissed it as statements of their own.
“I’ve expressed my sharp displeasure to George. He is used to indulge in such talk. I’ve also spoken to Antony Raju. I’ve asked them to stop such utterances,” Mani said. “After all, if one is aspiring for something, wouldn’t such talk will only sabotage the chances?” he wondered in a lighter vein and said that he is not the one to be blamed if any Left leader had evinced interest in making him the Chief Minister.
Mani clarified that there were no differences of opinion with the Congress or others in the UDF on issues, barring those concerning farmers like speedy grant of title deeds for the holdings of settlers and effective measures for rubber procurement as well as preventing the fall in prices of agricultural produces. “When the UPA led by the Congress was in power, the Kerala Congress had registered its protest consistently against unrestricted rubber imports but in vain. In the case of Modi Government also, there is nothing to cheer about,” he said. Whether the present political context and the fact that Kerala Congress, as a regional party, is nearing its 50 years of existence is likely to spawn any notable changes, Mani said that like in agriculture, “new planting and re-planting” are there in politics also. “In the state, it is for the UDF to decide its larger interests and the government to moot and execute innovative programmes,’’ he said. “Had I made some moves to become the Chief Minister, it would have given a re-orientation for the Kerala Congress,” he mused.