Thiruvananthapuram: Referring to the now diluted liquor policy in Kerala that initially aimed to implement total prohibition in a phased manner, a Congress leader Saturday said that at times, "external forces" set the government agenda.
"The biggest flaw in democracy is when `external forces` set the agenda for governance. I am just airing the feelings of the people," state Congress president VM Sudheeran told reporters in Thrissur.
He dismissed Leader of Opposition VS Achuthanandan`s demand for his resignation as president after changes in the state liquor policy.
However, party vice president MM Hassan termed Sudheeran`s statement an embarrassment for the government.
"The liquor policy was tweaked to make it a practical one. The chief minister had in detail explained the reason for tweaking it and people by and large had understood it. It`s Sudheeran`s responsibility also to ensure that the government functions smoothly," said Hassan.
Bowing to pressure from various quarters, the Kerala government has decided that Sundays will no longer be dry days and the 418 closed bars can serve wine and beer.
The Congress-led United Democratic Front allowed the Oommen Chandy cabinet to make the necessary changes, but demanded that the fundamentals of the policy - to implement prohibition in Kerala in a phased manner by Oct 2, 2024 - should not be touched.
Minister for Culture and Diaspora K.C. Joseph, a close aide of Chandy, dismissed Sudheeran`s statement that the government has succumbed to external pressure.
"The tweaking was done as part of correcting certain flaws. The government did not succumb to any lobby," said Joseph to reporters in Kannur.
Ever since Sudheeran took over as president, there has been a realignment of factions within the party in Kerala with a huge majority in the party rallying behind Chandy and very few left with Sudheeran.
The matter is expected to clear up Monday when the parliamentary party of the Congress meets.