In a startling claim, party leader and government chief whip Thomas Unniyadan said that the Kerala High Court order yesterday was, in fact, not against Mani but in his favour as the Vigilance Court observations against the state Finance Minister had been expunged.
    
"There is not even a word against Mani in the verdict. Why should he resign? The High Court verdict is favouring the minister. Has the court said anywhere that Mani was guilty? And, so, there is no reason for him to resign," he told reporters here, adding that the verdict had been wrongly interpreted by the media.
    
Referring to the calls in various quarters for Mani to step down, including demands within Congress itself, he countered that "no one had asked Mani to resign".
    
Asked if Kerala Congress (M) was divided over the issue, Unniyadan said the party was united and 'solidly' behind its leader.
    
According to reports, a section within KC(M), led by Irrigation Minister PJ Joseph and two MLAs loyal to him, TU Kuruvilla and Mons Joseph were of the opinion that Mani should step down.
    
Industries Minister PK Kunhalikutty, leader of IUML, another key ally of the Congress-led ruling UDF, said leaders met today at the residence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and discussed the issue.
    
Meanwhile, Congress mouthpiece 'Veekshanam', in a hard- hitting editorial today, said that Mani's resignation was 'inevitable'.

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