THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The ongoing tug of war between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and KPCC president V M Sudheeran on the bar licence issue reached a flashpoint with two official spokesmen of the Congress party locking horns in the open over the issue on Monday.
While KPCC vice-president M M Hassan claimed that the Chief Minister’s was a practical approach on the issue, Rajmohan Unnithan told reporters that Sudheeran’s stand not to open the 418 bars had received massive support and Hassan was making his personal views.
Hassan told a news conference in the morning that it was a UDF Government in power and not the Congress Government. He also claimed that the government-party coordination committee meeting had also endorsed the Chief Minister’s stand on the bar licence issue.
‘’It was on the request of the KPCC president that a decision on the issue was postponed before the Lok Sabha elections. Sudheeran had then stated that a decision could be arrived at on the basis of the court’s verdict,’’ Hassan said. However, coming down heavily on Hassan, Rajmohan Unnithan told a news conference in the evening that Hassan had not been entrusted to speak on policy matters. “As the UDF high power committee is set to meet on August 21 and discuss the bar licence issue, Hassan’s statement is mysterious. Moreover, Hassan had no right to make statement on a policy issue of the government,’’ he pointed out. ‘’KPCC president Sudheeran’s voice is the Congress party’s voice. The move to depict that Sudheeran is isolated on the issue will not work,’’ Unnithan said.
He said the general body of the KPCC is the supreme body of the party in the state. Sudheeran told the general body meeting that there was no need for passing a resolution in this regard and instead he would communicate the sentiments expressed by the general body to the Chief Minister, Unnithan said.
Unnithan said the government-party coordination committee was a body constituted as per the direction of Ramesh Chennithala when he was the KPCC president. It has no powers to take decision on policy issues, he said.
He said such a committee was against the constitution of the party and should be dissolved.Unnithan said Sudheeran’s stand on the bar licence issue had helped the party consolidate its mass base. It was on the basis of a report by the Excise Commissioner that 418 bars were closed down.
The Chief Minister had also stated that his government’s aim was to introduce prohibition in a phased manner. That does not mean that he would want to reopen the bars, Unnithan said. Unnithan said that the government had failed to introduce a liquor policy yet and K Babu should urgently announce the liquor policy of the government. Hassan should not have spoken like the advocate of the bar lobby, Unnithan added.