The concept of ticket for tipple has whipped up a storm in football-crazy Kerala. It’s got the state CPI (M), involved in the organisation of the E.K. Nayanar Memorial Gold Cup, to first dissociate itself from the idea and then ensure that it’s scrapped.
Kingfisher, sponsors of the tournament where seven of the 14 I-League teams taking part, had put up flex boards in different parts of this city offering free tickets for Wednesday’s final to those who buy two bottles of “strong” beer.
Sharda, widow of Nayanar, a veteran Marxist leader and former Kerala Chief Minister, sought the local party leadership’s intervention.
The reaction was swift. “The organising committee, chaired by party Central Secretariat member E P Jayarajan, was in no way involved in putting up of the flex boards,” state CPI (M) said in a statement.
“The boards were put up by the sponsors and the CPI(M) has no role in bringing to disrepute the memory of the veteran Marxist, who had long stint as the state's Chief Minister,” the statement said.
The party then directed owners of the bars near which the advertisements were placed to remove the boards with immediate effect, the statement said.
Some party members were also upset at the liquor company “using the name of their leader to promote their beer brand.”