CPI-M says it won’t pursue prohibition in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram, April 20 (IANS) While the Congress-led UDF government has announced that prohibition will be in force by 2023, the opposition CPI-M has made it clear that they will not have any such policy if voted to power.

Speaking to reporters here, Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan termed the liquor policy of the Oommen Chandy government a farce.

“Our policy is quite clear and we are interested and committed to bringing down the liquor consumption in the state. We do not subscribe to the policy of achieving prohibition,” said Vijayan.

Vijayan also expressed confidence that the CPI-M-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) will win over 100 seats in the May 16 assembly polls.

“See, once the results are announced and we are invited to form the government, we will sit down to elect our leader. There are many of our leaders who are fit to become the chief minister,” said Vijayan, who in all likelihood would be chief minister should the LDF romp home.

He said the one reason why the LDF is set to return to office is that people in Kerala are “fed up” with the present Congress-led dispensation which, he said, is “just interested in engaging in corrupt practices”.

“The people of Kerala are just waiting for the election day to express their anguish over the present government which has been a disaster. All of them want a change,” said Vijayan.

On the recently-formed BDJS — the political outfit of Hindu Ezhava leader Vellapaly Natesan — joining hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Vijayan said it will not have any impact. He added that “the disconnect between the two has now surfaced” with regard to the policy of reservation.

“While Prime Minister Narendra Modi says the policy of reservation would be there for SCs and STs community, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is clear that there need be no reservation at all. But Natesan demands reservation, so there is confusion galore,” Vijayan said.

“Chandy thought this new alliance will benefit them as Natesan will eat into the Ezhava votes while he kept silent. But during the recent local body polls, this came a cropper, and hence we know for certain this is not going to have any impact,” added Vijayan.

Asked about the relationship the CPI-M has recently struck with the Congress party in West Bengal, Vijayan said the Congress party’s presence there is hardly of any significance. He said he was not aware of any electoral tie-up and added that it has no significance for the polls in Kerala.

In reply to a question, Vijayan said the resolution passed against V.S. Achuthanandan for his indiscipline last year still stands, but his contesting the polls need not be linked to the resolution.

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