Thiruvananthapuram: In an embarrassment to the ruling Congress-led UDF, forest minister KB Ganesh Kumar was forced to quit after his wife levelled charges of domestic violence, a development that triggered opposition demand for Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's resignation.
Kumar, who initially took a defiant stand on the charges levelled by his wife Yamini Thankachi as "totally baseless" and also ruled out his resignation till last evening, later drove to the Chief Minister's residence and submitted his resignation.
The Kerala Congress (B) leader, who resigned after his wife lodged a police complaint alleging domestic violence, stated in his resignation letter that he was quitting "owing to personal reasons."
But later Kumar said his resignation was the "prize" for his fight against corruption, alluding to his tiff with sections in the United Democratic Front over his firm stand against those "illegally" holding vast stretches of forest land beyond lease terms.The exit of the 46-year-old actor-turned-politician became imminent after Chandy advised him to put in his papers.
Seizing the issue, the CPI (M)-led Left Democratic Front in the state Assembly demanded the Chief Minister's resignation accusing him of misleading the House that he had not received any complaint from Kumar's wife.
As soon as the Assembly began its proceedings, the LDF members were on their feet alleging Chandy had lost moral right to remain in office and demanded an immediate discussion over the issue.
The House had adjournment for a brief spell after opposition members insisted for a discussion even as Speaker G Karthikeyan promised to permit a debate during zero hour. The long-running incompatibility between the couple reached a flashpoint yesterday with Kumar filing a divorce petition in a court here.
While Kumar charged his wife of "blackmailing" and "manhandling", Yamini rejected the allegations and asserted she was a victim of "domestic violence" for the last 16 years after she objected to her husband's "illicit affairs".
Yamini also alleged that she could not get justice from the Chief Minister whom she had approached with a complaint.     Kumar, a second time MLA from Pathanapuram in Kollam district, had a tough time right from the start of his second stint as minister with his father and Kerala Congress (B) supremo R Balakrishna Pillai calling for his withdrawal.


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