Says KPCC president may be using the bar licence issue to settle scores

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran’s stance on the bar licence issue is a big blunder and it exposes the latter’s lack of practical sense, Sree Narayana Dharma Paripalana (SNDP) Yogam (SNDP Yogam) general secretary Vellappally Natesan has said.

“What is needed is a sustained campaign against liquor consumption and not prohibition,” Mr. Natesan told mediapersons after taking charge as secretary of the SN Trusts for the seventh consecutive term here on Monday.

Mr. Sudheeran’s intransigence on the issue made one wonder whether he was using the issue to settle scores with someone. The moot point was that there were no supporters to Mr. Sudheeran’s stance either in the government or in the party, he said.

“Mr. Sudheeran is the only person opposing renewal of licences to the 418 bars. Mr. Sudheeran’s move is one that smacks of deliberate trouble-making for the government,” he said. Yet, the puzzling aspect was that even Chief Minister Oommen Chandy lacked any resolve in finding a solution. Mr. Chandy should put his foot down and convince Mr. Sudheeran. The Excise Minister too was unable to take a stand, Mr. Natesan said.

The Kerala Catholic Bishops Council represented only 5 per cent of the Christian community and the council’s support to Mr. Sudheeran cannot be claimed as the complete support of the community. Mr. Sudheeran’s stand was not the majority opinion, he said.

Bars were being targeted but no one was talking about the proliferation of retail liquor outlets in the State. People buying liquor from these outlets were also found consuming it in public. Only about 24 per cent of those who consumed liquor in the State went to bars. The rest purchased it from retails outlets. So, any sincere talk on brining down liquor consumption should with the reduction of the number of such outlets, he said.

Mr. Natesan rubbished the suggestion that people with stakes in liquor businesses should not be appointed to devaswon boards. If that policy was pursued, the government would find it difficult to constitute devaswom boards, he said.

The verdict of the Supreme Court should be implemented in the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple case. The findings of the amicus curiae were shocking and it was on the basis of those finding that the apex court would pronounce its verdict.

M.N. Soman took charge as the president of the trusts, Thushar Vellapally as the vice-president, and G. Jayadevan as the treasurer.

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