Bar policy bares differences between Congress and Kerala government
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The new liquor policy of Kerala government
seems have created differences between the Congress party and the government,
if observations of members during the executive committee of the KPCC were any
While some leaders did not openly criticise the
policy, they expressed reservations about whether the move was well planned.
The Congress A-group also used the occasion to protest against a potential
party restructuring. The meeting also saw MM Jacob and VM Sudheeran exchanging
not-so-pleasant comments against each other.
V Sivadasan Nair of the A-group started the charge
against the government and accused that KPCC chief VM Sudheeran and Chief
Minister Oommen Chandy had different agendas with regard to the liquor policy.
He said that while banning plastics and liquor were welcome moves, the
government also had to focus on mundane and more-pressing issues concerning
pensions, health, roads etc.
Acknowledging that there are many groups in the party,
he said that now a new group was emerging, the group of those who have no
group! He suggested that the leader of this group was VM Sudheeran.
MM Jacob took the chance to take potshots at VM
Sudheeran and said that he was not saying anything because he did not want to
be sidelined, suggesting that dissent was not tolerated within the party. He
said that all in the party should be given a chance to speak their opinion. VM
Sudheeran also responded to the jabs by saying that many senior leaders were
not tolerant enough.
Benny Behanan enquired whether it was proper for VM
Sudheeran to take the help of community and religious leaders to embarrass the
government. He said that future decisions of the liquor policy need to be
practical. He also said that restructuring within the lower levels of the party
was insignificant now that AICC restructuring was about to take place soon.
Saying that the central leadership was still reluctant
to find out reasons for the drubbing the party received during the recent
elections, the leader said that the CM and the KPCC president need to prevail
on the top leadership to review election results. D Sugathan, who opposed the
liquor policy, said that it would harm the SNDP.
While DCC presidents supported the move of the
government, the sentiment that the decision was a hurried one was palpable
among them. MM Hassan, who pressed a motion in support of the policy, explained
the problems he had to face after he was branded as a member of the liquor
lobby and hoped the motion would clear his name.
In his speech, VM Sudheeran said that he had no
differences with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and said that he was close to the
CM, AK Antony and Vayalar Ravi. He said he has no group since 15 years. The CM
also denied that the liquor policy was a quickly adopted one. The KPCC
president also said that bar employees who lose jobs would be rehabilitated and
stated that the Supreme Court order did not endanger plans to bar liquor in the
Later, in a press meet, VM Sudheeran said that such a
meeting was called because there were differences of opinion between leaders.
If all had the same opinion, then there was no need to call a meeting. He also
called on the media not to speculate on the general mood of the meeting just
because there were some divergent views.