"Always favour a total ban. That should be so," said Father Jimmy Poochakkatt

news Thursday, April 07, 2016 - 16:22

With the ruling Congress-led UDF and opposition LDF sparring over liquor policy ahead of the May 16 Assembly polls in Kerala, the powerful Syro Malabar catholic church on Thursday said it was in favour of total prohibition.

The church stand comes as a shot in the arm for the UDF government of Oommen Chandy which is in favour of a liquor ban.

The Chandy government had in 2014 closed down about 700 odd bars as part of its liquor policy that envisages total prohibition in the next 10 years. Presently, liquor can be served only in five star hotels.

Taking a different stand on the issue, CPI(M) has said that total prohibition was 'impractical' and if LDF was voted to power, it would try to reduce consumption of liqour through abstinence. They would also hold awareness campaigns to achieve their goal in cooperation with anti-liquor outfits.

Father Jimmy Poochakkatt, Syro Malabar catholic church's official spokesperson, told PTI that they "always favour a total ban. That should be so. The steps taken by UDF government in this regard is welcome".

Taking into consideration the polices of the two Fronts on liquor, the church feels that UDF policy "is more favourable" and "welcoming", he said, however, adding this does not mean that they were politically supporting UDF.

"We are not for politics. We are not for UDF or LDF. But considering the policies of the two fronts on liquor, the policy of UDF is more favourable and so we welcome it," he said.

On the abstinence theory of the LDF, he said the church is of the view it would not be "practicable in the state".

He said a priest from a parish had told him that after restriction on liquor sale was imposed, many problems due to its consumption had decreased in the area.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday had slammed the CPI(M)'s liquor abstinence policy and said the Marxist party's aim was to do away with his government liqour policy.

CPI(M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan had earlier said LDF would hold a campaign in the state with anti-liquor outfits on ill-effects of liquor and that CPI(M) was not a party that encourages liquor.

Party state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the CPI(M) was against total prohibition.

KPCC President V M Sudheeran had hit out at Vijayan, saying it shows the alleged nexus between the liquor lobby and CPI(M) leaders.

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