Close down offshore casinos after expiry of licences: BJP to CM

Panaji: Making clear its position over the issue of
offshore casinos in River Mandovi, the Bharatiya Janata Party has recommended
to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant that these casinos should be closed down
following expiry of their present licences.

Coming out with this information, state BJP president
Vinay Tendulkar told the media during a press conference on Tuesday that BJP
has made its stand clear to the Chief Minister, following pressure from the
public to shut down the gambling houses anchored along the capital city of
Panaji. “If the people come out with a demand to close the land-based casinos
in Goa, then the party will also make related recommendation to the
government,” he added.

It may be recalled that the Congress party, in its
manifesto for the capital city, has assured to shift the offshore casinos from
River Mandovi in 100 days, while the Goa Suraksha Manch has promised moving
them in the Arabian Sea. BJP, however, had not made any mention about the
casinos in the manifesto of its candidate for Panaji by-election Sidharth

Maintaining that the literate and mature voters of Panaji
would elect the BJP candidate, Tendulkar said that national BJP leader and
central minister Nitin Gadkari will address a public meeting on May 16, in the
city, as a part of BJP’s electoral campaign for the Panaji bypoll. “The meeting
will be tentatively held near Zari – the fountain – at Boca da Vaca,” he added.

Speaking further, Tendulkar said that all the casinos in
River Mandovi were cleared by the then Congress government. “The BJP government
was eventually compelled to renew their licences,” he noted. The state BJP
chief also retorted that the previous candidates of the Goa Suraksha Manch
namely Ketan Bhatikar and Anand Shirodkar received only 1.5 per cent and 1.25
per cent of the votes, respectively, at the earlier assembly elections in the
Panaji constituency. “The real contest at the May 19 Panaji bypoll would be
between the BJP and the Congress,” he mentioned, while diluting the importance
of the GSM.

Senior BJP state leader Rajendra Arlekar, admitting that
the GSM candidate Subhash Velingkar had played some role in bringing the BJP to
its present position in Goa, maintained that there were other leaders and
members of the Goa unit of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh too, who contributed
towards the same.

“Myself, Shripad Naik and Laxmikant Parsekar were the
three persons, who were lent by the RSS to the BJP for its work in Goa, during
early days of the BJP in the state,” Arlekar maintained, stating that other
leaders like Manohar Parrikar, Satish Dhond and Govind Parvatkar with countless
workers followed.

“It is the collective work of all these people, which has
taken the BJP to the pinnacle of success in Goa,” he said, pointing out that
the people moving with Velingkar have no knowledge as regards history of the
BJP in Goa, and are wrongly publicising that Velingkar was the lone person
responsible for the success of BJP in the state.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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