Congress in Kerala braces for another tiff
Thiruvananthapuram: The faction-ridden Congress party in Kerala is bracing for another round of tiff as the party-government coordination committee meeting will be held here Tuesday.
The tiff between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the party’s state unit president V.M. Sudheeran worsened after Chandy, getting the full support of the state’s ruling United Democratic Front and the party’s all but one of the 40 legislators,tweaked the state’s liquor policy. Sudheeran had opposed any change in the policy.
The party-government coordination committee was set up a few years back to facilitate a better liaison between the Congress and the government it leads. Its decision was often considered the last word on policy matters.
The day Chandy got the unconditional support of the ruling United Democratic Front in tweaking the new liquor policy, a miffed Sudheeran without asking anyone inducted four new members to the coordination committee that he heads.
The amended liquor policy came out last month. According to it, 418 bars that have not been opened in this fiscal can be converted into wine and beer parlours and it was decided to revoke the decision to make all Sundays non-liquor or dry days.
When the policy was unveiled in August, there was a huge public outcry as the people felt that it was not practical because under the new policy more than 700 bars would not be allowed to serve liquor and Sundays would be dry days.
Besides Chandy and Sudheeran, the committee includes all former presidents of the Congress state unit. Rajya Sabha deputy chairman P.J. Kurien, former union minister K.C. Venugopal, Lok Sabha member Kodikunnil Suresh and state unit vice-president Laly Vincent were the new inductees.
“Sudheeran is certainly a wounded lion and it would be quite natural that he will vent his feelings during the meeting as his image has taken a beating,” a senior Congress leader said Sunday on the condition of anonymity.
“There is every likelihood that he might rake up the ongoing National Games controversy, where a section of the media is boycotting all events related to the mega sporting event,” the leader said.
The media boycott came after a regional daily’s sister company was appointed as the event management company to conduct the promotional ‘Run Kerala Run’ event to be held across the state Jan 20.
The leader said: “Sudheeran knows very well on which issue to latch on to get maximum publicity.”