Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan is under pressure to fire electricity minister MM Mani for making derogatory remarks about activists of Pengal Otrumai (women tea plantation workers) in Munnar.
MM Mani, while addressing a public meeting in Idukki district on April 22, said that these women were into "drinks and much else".
Electricity minister was criticising the 2015 strike by women plantation workers in Munnar demanding a rise in their wages and better living conditions.
Angered by Mani's remarks, women plantation workers launched a protest on Sunday afternoon. Workers' leader Gomathy Augustine who led the protest said that they would continue protesting till Mani comes to Munnar and offers public apology.
State BJP leaders are observing a black day in Idukki district and demanding Mani's resignation. "Mani is a shame for literate Keralaites. This is not the first time, he is making derogatory comments against his opponents. Such persons should not occupy respected posts. But he has been forced on Kerala as a Minister by CPIM leadership and given license to make derogatory remarks against women and respected bureaucrats. By making derogatory statement against women, he has committed sexual abuse and dishonoured the dignity of women. He should be charged for sexual abuse under Indian Penal code," Kummanam Rajashekharan, state BJP president told India Today.
Leader of Opposition Ramesh Chennithala also demanded Mani's resignation.
Sensing trouble Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and CPIM state Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan denounced Mani's statement with the former asking Mani to settle the issue at the earliest.
"I will only resign if my party demands for resignation. Party made me a minister. I'm not going to Munnar to express my apology to Women Worker's leaders. My comments were edited and used to defame the government," MM Mani told India Today. The issue is expected to be raised in the Legislative Assembly that goes to session on April 25.