Kerala

UDF comes to tipping point over liquor row

KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran hands over thecash he received as awards for his anti-liquorcampaign work to the CH Centre, represented byIndustries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, at a functionin Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, is present. Photo S. Mahinsha

KPCC president V.M. Sudheeran hands over thecash he received as awards for his anti-liquorcampaign work to the CH Centre, represented byIndustries Minister P.K. Kunhalikutty, at a functionin Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday. E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, is present. Photo S. Mahinsha  

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High-power committee meeting tomorrow

Even as the government seeks to use the Kerala High Court order as an opening to wriggle out of the bar licence stalemate, positions appear to be hardening on both sides, within the Congress and among the constituent parties, raising a question mark over the possible outcome of the August 21 UDF high-power committee meeting.

Even as Excise officials began the inspection of the 418 bars that await renewal of licences, Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president V.M. Sudheeran said at a public function here on Tuesday that what he had articulated was the party stand.

A firm stand on the bar licence issue might result in a few sustaining losses, but the benefits that society as a whole derives from it would be phenomenal. The bar licence issue should not be made a matter of political controversy, he said.

Speaking at the function, Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) leader and Industries Minister P.K. Kunhalikkutty and party leader E.T. Mohammed Basheer declared their support for Mr. Sudheeran’s stand.

Meanwhile in Kochi, Kerala Congress leader and Finance Minister K.M. Mani also took the position that the closed bars should not be reopened.

Even as all this happened, KPCC vice-president M.M. Hassan and general secretary Thampanoor Ravi called upon Mr. Sudheeran to explore ways for conciliation within the party, but apparently not with much success. On Monday, the AICC leadership had reached out to both Mr. Sudheeran and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, but the message was that the issue should be resolved amicably in the State.

A senior IUML leader told The Hindu on Tuesday that there was no change in the IUML stand on the issue. “We cannot go back on our stand against reopening the closed bars and we will reiterate it when the UDF committee meets,” he said, adding that the High Court directive did not alter situation substantively.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 7:39:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/udf-comes-to-tipping-point-over-liquor-row/article6332580.ece

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