Thiruvananthapuram: State Congress president VM Sudheeran, who has blamed "external forces" for diluting Kerala`s liquor policy, Sunday came under heavy attack from within the party as well as from outside of it for his remark.
State Congress vice-president MM Hassan told reporters in Kasargode that Sudheeran`s statements on the tweaked liquor policy "breached party discipline and caused a dent on the image of the UDF government".
Bowing to pressure from various quarters, the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) government in Kerala Thursday decided that Sundays will no longer be dry days.
The front allowed the Oommen Chandy cabinet to make the necessary changes on the policy, 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.
Referring to the diluted liquor policy, Sudheeran Saturday told reporters in Thrissur: "The biggest flaw in democracy is when `external forces` set the agenda for governance. I am just airing the feelings of the people."
Following the new liquor policy that came out in August, from Oct 2 bars in the state were prohibited from selling liquor on Sundays.
Hindu social group leader Velapally Natesan said Sudheeran has become a laughing stock and he does not enjoy any support in his party.
"The only thing that has happened after he became president is that the once warring factions in the Congress party have come under one roof and he has become a loner," said Natesan.
Government chief whip in the state assembly P.C. George said the huge majority of the Congress party was now strongly behind Chandy because of the adamant and untenable approach on the liquor policy taken up by Sudheeran.
Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC) state president R. Chandrasekheran said either Sudheeran should tow the approach of the state government or he should resign as president. INTUC is the trade union wing of the Congress.
The party high command appointed Sudheeran the state party chief in February this year, ignoring request from Chandy and state Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala.
Since then, things have gone from bad to worse, with the changes in liquor policy leaving Sudheeran totally isolated in the party.
Meanwhile in Kottayam, Chandy told reporters that he has not called any meeting of the party`s legislators Monday.
"Since I was out of the capital city for the past two days, I have told those MLAs who expressed their desire to meet me to come to the state capital. There is no meeting of legislators as reported in the media," said Chandy.