The Left Democratic Front said on Wednesday that it did not support total prohibition in Kerala, but would aim to bring down consumption of liquor in phases. The statement from the Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led alliance was in response to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asking the Opposition to declare its stand on the liquor policy. Calling total prohibition impractical, Pinarayi Vijayan (pictured above), who is a chief ministerial front-runner for the Left coalition, said the LDF will encourage alcohol abstinence if it comes to power, PTI reported.

The Congress-led United Democratic Front government’s policy on liquor was implemented in 2014. It restricted country-made foreign liquor bars to five-star hotels and brought the shutters down on more than 700 other bars, with the aim of reducing availability of foreign liquor in Kerala and bring about total prohibition in a decade.

CPI (M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan seconded Vijayan’s response, saying total prohibition was not practical, but party leaders did not specify whether the closed bars will be reopened if the LDF wins the upcoming Assembly elections. The liquor policy has been one of the major campaign points ahead of the polls.