Kochi, Aug 20 IANS | 2 months ago

Even as leaders of different factions in the Congress in Kerala continue their verbal duel over the fate of 418 closed bars, state party president V.M. Sudheeran said the need of the hour is total prohibition in the state.

"The current discussions indicate that we are heading towards total prohibition. Such a strong anti-liquor sentiment has never been witnessed since the country's Independence," said Sudheeran at a meeting here Wednesday.

Sudheeran's tough stand has come at a time when the new liquor policy has been hanging fire as he, citing a CAG report, argued that these 418 bars with poor infrastructure should not be given new licences this fiscal.

The issue has reached Kerala High Court which last week asked the state government to come up with a new liquor policy, and also directed a two-member government committee to submit its report Aug 26 on the condition of these bars.

This issue is now seeing a clear divide between those in the Sudheeran camp, and those with chief minister who has said that there has to be a practical approach on such issues.

"Let Sudheeran come out with a policy resolution in our party meeting that we will introduce prohibition. I will support with both hands raised, but what he does now is not acceptable," said former party president K. Muraleedharan.

When asked of the present wrangling in his party over these closed bars, Chandy Wednesday said that there are no issues at all.

Thursday is a crucial day for the ruling UDF as the top leaders of the Congress-led coalition will meet after a long gap and discuss the question of presenting the new liquor policy to the high court.

(Posted on 20-08-2014)

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