Kerala liquor policy row: Youth Congress workers take out protest march to Excise Minister's office

Several Youth Congress activists on Saturday took out a protest march to the office of Kerala Excise Minister M B Rajesh in this district, alleging corruption in the LDF government's liquor policy.
Kerala police lathi charges on Youth Congress workers in Wayanad
Kerala police lathi charges on Youth Congress workers in Wayanad

Palakkad (Kerala) | Several Youth Congress activists on Saturday took out a protest march to the office of Kerala Excise Minister M B Rajesh in this district, alleging corruption in the LDF government's liquor policy.

The protest was staged a day after reports of the state government mulling scrapping the 'dry day' norm with respect to alcohol sales had kicked off a political storm in the state.

While the Congress-led UDF has accused the LDF dispensation of taking bribes to 'favour' bar owners, the Left claimed that it has not yet held any deliberations over its liquor policy.

Raising slogans against Minister Rajesh and the Left government, the Youth Congress activists tried to march towards his office here.

However, police thwarted the attempt by placing barricades near the office.

The protesters tried to jump over the barricade and some even climbed atop it, leading to a minor scuffle with the police.

Later, police forcibly shifted those who blocked the Thrithala-Kuttanad road here and continued to indulge in sloganeering, holding flags in their hands.

Some of them could be seen dragged along the road by the police and shifted to their vehicle.

The issue of withdrawal of the 'dry day' policy -- not selling alcohol in the state on the first day of every calendar month -- snowballed into a controversy after an audio clip purportedly of a bar association member allegedly asking other members to pay money for a 'favourable liquor policy', was aired on TV channels.

Subsequently, the Congress-led UDF opposition came out with allegations that the Left government sought Rs 20 crore from bar owners to make a policy favourable to them and demanded the resignation of state Excise Minister M B Rajesh.

Brushing aside the allegations and the demand of the opposition, Rajesh said that the state government has not yet held any deliberations regarding its liquor policy.

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