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BJP is in cahoots with Goa casino lobby: Congress

IANS  |  Panaji 

The casino industry is back in spotlight in ahead of the May 19 Assembly by-election as the here on Monday criticised the ruling (BJP) for making no mention of its earlier promise to remove casinos on the

Addressing the media at the party office, said the BJP had compromised on the issue of shutting offshore casinos because it was in cahoots with the casino lobby.

"Why have casinos disappeared from the BJP's manifesto? Have the casino promoters bribed the BJP? The BJP had talked about removal of casinos from the for years. Why is the party silent on the issue now?" Panjikar said.

Late Manohar Parrikar, whose death caused the by-election, had been making this promise since 2012.

There are seven offshore casinos are anchored in the and nine onshore casinos operating from five-star resorts that dot the coastal state.

Goa's two main political parties, the and the BJP, have a chequered history as far as their respective dispositions towards the casino industry is concerned.

When in the opposition from 2007-2012, the BJP had vociferously opposed casino operations in and promised to shut them on coming to power. Most licences for casinos had been granted by Congress-led coalition governments.

After the BJP came to power in 2012, the Congress started accusing the BJP of being in cahoots with the casino lobby, especially after successive coalition governments headed by it did not shut offshore casino operations.

Congress candidate for the by-election Atanasio Monserrate first promised to remove offshore casinos from the Mandovi river, but on Sunday said he would look at shifting the offshore casino operations.

Currently, live gaming is only allowed at offshore casinos. Onshore casinos operating from five-star hotels are allowed only to host mechanised casino games.

Suraksha Manch's Subhash Velingkar, a former state RSS chief also in the fray, has promised to do away with the offshore casinos from Panaji's jurisdiction.

--IANS

maya/kr/pcj

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, May 13 2019. 20:00 IST
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