Congress on Sunday urged the CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala to conduct a referendum on the state's liquor policy to know whether people want total prohibition or abstinence.
The referendum should be conducted before the Left government goes for a change in the existing liquor policy, KPCC chief V M Sudheeran said.
The demand assumes significance as the ruling LDF has been favouring abstinence rather than total prohibition, which was the policy of Congress-led UDF opposition.
Addressing a programme to mark the 'International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking' in Thiruvananthapuram, Sudheeran also said the Left government was trying to change the present policy to help the liquor lobby.
"There should be a single agenda for the referendum-- whether we need total prohibition or abstinence," he said.
Stating that it should not be a "namesake referendum", the leader said all sections of society, including women, should get a chance to participate in it.
Sudheeran also alleged that the government had an "understanding" with the bar owners during the time of May 16 assembly polls to change the policy formulated by the UDF government.
The KPCC chief's call for a referendum comes in the wake of indications about the formulation of a new liquor policy in the Governor's policy address at the Assembly here on Friday.
In his address, the Governor had said the opinion of all sections of society would be taken into account before formulating the new liquor policy.
He had also said the government was of the view that restrictions on consumption of liquor had not yielded the desired positive impact.
The Congress-led UDF government's liquor policy, which came into force in 2014, had restricted Indian Made Foreign Liquor bars to Five Star category hotels and shut down more than 700 other bars, envisaging total prohibition in 10 years.
However, LDF had said that it was not in favour of total prohibition and pitched for reducing consumption of liquor in phases.