BJP, casino lobby trying to oust Goa Congress president: Official

Panaji, June 17 (IANS) The BJP along with the casino lobby in Goa is trying to oust state Congress chief Girish Chodankar in order to destabilise the opposition, a Goa Congress spokesperson said on Monday.

"The casino lobby and the Bharatiya Janata Party collectively is trying to oust our state Congress president Girish Chodankar, because of his sustained campaign against the casino industry. But the party stands collectively behind Chodankar. The BJP has no right to decide who heads the Congress party," Goa Congress spokesperson Amarnath Panjikar said.

The accusation comes amid reports of an internal rebellion within the Congress, to seek the ouster of Chodankar, for the lacklustre performance in the recent Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls in which the Congress won one out of two Lok Sabha seats and one out of four Assembly seats.

Addressing a press conference at the state Congress headquarters in Panaji, Panjikar also alleged that the six offshore casinos and a dozen odd onshore casinos in the coastal state were like an "ATM card without a pin", in the hands of the BJP.

"When our state president launched a campaign against offshore casinos, accusing them of polluting the Mandovi river, a BJP minister leaped to the defence of the casino industry. This is because the casino industry is like an ATM card without a pin in the hands of the BJP," he said.

Both the BJP and the Congress have been slugging it out over the issue of casinos in Goa for the last more than a decade.

When in the opposition, the BJP had initially opposed setting up of casinos in Goa by the Congress party from 2007-12. But once in power, the Congress has been accusing the BJP of cosying up to the influential casino lobby.



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