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Rahul Gandhi to address Congress rally in T’puram today

Rahul Gandhi to address Congress rally in T’puram today

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will address a party rally here today to mark the conclusion of the month-long "Janapaksha Yatra" of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President VM Sudheeran.

Gandhi will also address a special convention of state office-bearers and leaders on Wednesday at the KPCC headquarters Indira Bhavan, a party spokesperson said. Sudheeran, who was handpicked by the high command to lead the party in Kerala in November last, began his road show from Manjeswaram in Kasargode in north Kerala on November 4, highlighting some vital political and social themes.

Though the campaign was primarily meant to galvanise the party cadre ahead of the local body polls next year and the assembly elections early 2016, it has attracted attention mainly on account of his strident posturing on the new liquor policy of the UDF Government headed by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

While sections in the Congress as well as UDF partners favoured a "more pragmatic" approach in the matter, Sudheeran has sternly opposed any move that will even slightly dilute the policy which sets total prohibition within a decade as its ultimate goal.

Chandy himself had recently acknowledged the problems caused by the liquor policy to tourism sectors and hinted at bringing about some "pragmatic changes" without compromising on its core theme of sharply reducing the availability of liquor.

Sudheeran's stand has received total support from party stalwart A K Antony, who banned arrack in Kerala when he was chief minister in mid-1990s. Significantly, the tough stand taken by Sudheeran against renewing licences for over 400 liquor bars led to the government decision to shut down all bars except those in five-star hotels. The policy, however, is pending judicial scrutiny after the bar owners moved the court.

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