UDF left red-faced after Chennithala’s remarks on liquor

policy Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 16 (PTI) Congress in Kerala wascaught on the backfoot after Opposition Leader in the AssemblyRamesh Chennithala left the party red-faced with his remarksthat the previous UDF government’s liquor policy did not havethe desired results during the Assembly polls. Chennithala in a interview to Malayalam magazine hadstated that the liquor policy of the Congress-led UDFgovernment had not benefited the Front on expected linesduring the Assembly polls. "Though we expected an overwhelming response from thepeople on the liquor policy, it was not so," he said. Media reports stated that Chennithala had also said thatit was up to the party to decide if a change was needed inthe policy. While Chennithala, who was the Home Minister in theprevious government went incommunicado after the publicationof the interview, former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy refusedto react. KPCC President V M Sudheeran said there was no need for areconsideration on the UDF’s liquor policy as of now. IUML, a Congress ally, said it did not believe that UDFhad lost the polls due to the excise policy. However, Excise Minister T P Ramakrishnan wanted UDF andCongress to clarify their stand in the backdrop ofChennithala’s remarks. "Does Congress, IUML, KPCC President endorse the views ofChennithala?" he asked. The remarks by Chennithala comes at a time when therewere reports that the CPI(M)-led LDF government could go for anew liquor policy as the present "restrictions on consumptionof liquor have not yielded the desired positive impact". The policy has also affected the tourism industry inthe state, he said. The previous UDF government had closed down over 700 barsacross the state and decided to bring in total prohibition inphases. PTI UD RCSMN

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