Kerala's former finance minister K.M. Mani turned emotional after he won for a record 13th time the Kerala assembly election from Pala constituency in Kottayam district on Thursday.Before the May 16 elections were held, the veteran leader was struggling to salvage his political career as he was named in the Rs.1 crore bar bribery scam and forced to quit as finance minister last year. It was alleged that the 83-year-old, who heads the Kerala Congress (Mani) -- the third biggest partner of the United Democratic Front (UDF) -- accepted bribes from bar owners and promised to act in favour of them.
Heading for the elections in his home constituency Palai which he has represented since 1967, many felt that Mani would have to end his distinguished political career with a defeat.
But when votes were counted, he stood victorious for the 13th successive time, defeating the nearest rival Mani C. Kappen of the Left Democratic Front, led by the CPI-M, by 4,703 votes. "Glory to God, this is a victory that the people of Palai have bestowed on me, when I was going through a tough time on account of the smear campaign against me. I knew from the bottom of my heart that my people here will not let me down," said Mani, almost breaking down. "Even you (media) did not show any courtesy to me and caused a huge damage to me by saying baseless things like I have a cash counting machine in my home, but my people have come to my help," said Mani.