The Centre is keenly watching the impact of Kerala government's decision to drastically reduce availability of liquor in the state on its flourishing tourism sector, Union minister Shripad Yesso Naik said on Friday.
Congress in Kerala has urged the party high command to restrain lawyers associated with the party from appearing for the liquor barons in the petition filed by them in the Supreme Court, challenging the UDF Government's decision to close down over 700 bars.
Asserting that the ruling Congress-led UDF would go ahead with its decision to shut over 700 liquor bars, KPCC president VM Sudheeran on Wednesday said there was no rift within the Congress or the coalition over the new liquor policy.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday made it clear that his government would not go back on its new liquor policy of limiting bar licenses to only 5-star hotels as part of a move to implement total prohibition in the state in 10 years' time.
The victory of the ruling Congress-led UDF in 12 of the 20 Lok Sabha seats in the state has made Chief Minister Oommen Chandy stronger as Kerala is one of the few states that bucked the anti-Congress trend in the country.
All arrangements have been made for the smooth conduct of counting of votes for the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala that went to polls on April 10, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Kerala Nalini Netto said here on Tuesday.
With just twenty Lok Sabha seats, Kerala has eight ministers in the present Union cabinet. Of the eight two are Cabinet ranked, while other six are Ministers of State. This probably explains the importance of the southern state in UPA`s calculations which has traditionally seen a direct contest between the Congress-led United Democratic Front and the CPI(M) backed Left Democratic Front.