Kerala Congress crisis storm in a tea cup: Antony

Written by: IANS
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Thiruvananthapuram, Aug 27: The present crisis in the Congress party is just a storm in a tea cup, former defence minister A.K. Antony said here Wednesday.

Relations between party president V.M. Sudheeran and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy have not been cordial over the liquor policy which the government submitted to the Kerala High Court Tuesday.

While Sudheeran wanted that the 418 bars that have not opened this fiscal should not be given licenses, Chandy tried to find an amicable solution to the issue.

After nearly five months of uncertainty, with Sudheeran unrelenting, Chandy surprised everyone by proposing complete prohibition gradually over 10 years. Sudheeran felt he had been robbed of the glory.

Following this, supporters of both the leaders openly attacked each other.

"The characteristic of our party is, when things appear to go out of hand, the seasoned and veteran party leaders find an amicable solution. It's just a storm in a tea cup," Antony told reporters here.

After Chandy's visit to Antony's home here Wednesday morning there were rumours that the former had complained to the latter about the ways of Sudheeran.

"I have no complaints against anyone. The TV channels are free to say whatever they want," Chandy told reporters.

"Today (Wednesday) we ratified the liquor policy that came out early this week, which dealt with the issue of bars. At the next week's cabinet meeting more discussions would be held on other issues," said Chandy.

Meanwhile in the weekly state cabinet meeting, some ministers expressed their displeasure over the way the liquor policy was framed.

But Chandy said that he went by the decision taken at the meeting of the Congress-led United Democratic Front leaders last week which cleared the new liquor policy, a source close to the chief minister told IANS.

Among those who expressed resentment at the cabinet meeting were State Finance Minister K.M. Mani and Labour Minister Shibu Baby John.

Incidentally, soon after the new liquor policy was announced Mani had told the media that this was one of the best decisions taken and that he would find ways to make up for the loss to the exchequer. He also added that this was a joint decision.

John also reportedly expressed his displeasure in the meeting, but the chief minister said that no objection to the liquor policy was raised at the UDF leaders' meeting.

Chandy said if there had to be a change, let all the parties make their stand public and then it can be taken up again.


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