Liquor availability, use should be curtailed

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran has made it clear that there is no question of his changing his stand on the government’s liquor policy.

In a statement here on Thursday, Mr. Sudheeran termed misleading reports appearing in the media about the deliberations of the KPCC-government coordination committee on the liquor policy and that everybody else attending the meeting had opposed his stand on the issue.

All that he had done was to present before the committee the views expressed by the majority of members of the KPCC executive committee. That was his responsibility and there was no question of his trying to impose his views on the coordination committee, the KPCC president said.

Mr. Sudheeran said he had no intention to be seen as the sole representative of the ‘anti-liquor brand’ in the State.

He had all along put forward only the long-held stand of the Congress and the government that liquor availability and consumption should be brought down.

He had done only the same at Wednesday’s coordination committee meeting. “My intention is to go ahead with the same stand,” Mr. Sudheeran said.

Mr. Sudheeran’s statement came shortly after Excise Minister K. Babu told reporters that nobody would be allowed to impose his views on the party or the government.

Talking to reporters along with K. Muralidharan, MLA, the Minister said such attempts would not be permitted in any political party. The party and government would find a solution to the current issue through discussions, he had said.

Tharayil’s support

The KPCC president received support from party spokesperson Ajay Tharayil, who issued a statement urging Chief Minister Oommen Chandy not to take ‘any decision favouring the liquor barons’ overlooking the views that came up at the KPCC executive committee meeting. He also termed the campaign that Mr. Sudheeran’s stand on the issue was his personal position and said Mr. Sudheeran had taken the stand based on the views that came up at the KPCC executive committee meeting.

Meanwhile, the Kerala Catholic Bishops Council (KCBC) State committee called upon cultural persons in the State to state their stand on the proposal to grant licences to 418 bars, which had been denied licences as directed by the Supreme Court.

At a time when the Congress and the government appeared headed for a showdown on the issue, the stand of religious and community leaders was also important. If the government took any anti-people decision on the issue, it would have to face a strong agitation, the committee meeting chaired by Bishop Remigius Inchananiyil said.

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