The elections results have been announced and the BJP has gained majority to claim stake of the government, with former minister Manohar Parrikar back in the saddle. However, casinos continue to be the target for opposition parties and now, the Congress is accusing the BJP of utilizing ‘casino money’ in gaining backing from the independents. At least people who play poker in India have some form of respite following the results.
The recent release by the Indian Express states that Manohar Parrikar proved his majority with 22 seats, out of which the BJP had directly bagged 13 and the rest were claimed by supporting MLAs.
Those who backed the BJP include NCP’s Churchill Alemao, three from Goa Forward, three from MGP and two Independents.
The Congress had initially claimed 17 seats, but could only claim 16 votes as their own member Vishwajit Rane abstained from voting and subsequently resigned from the party, blaming them for not settling earlier ‘issues’.
But the party chose to ignore the mayhem within and Girish Chodonkar, Secretary All India Congress Committee, piled the blame on ‘casino money, stating, “More than Rs 1,000 crore they have used. Including the money from casinos. Because casino people were very much there in the Raj Bhavan for the last two days.”
Parrikar, who is now the CM immediately remarked, “ Those people who have practiced (in the past of bribing MLAs to join their party) are making such baseless allegations. When you don yellow sunglasses, the whole world looks yellow. This is the same situation with them (the opposition party).”
The Congress further claimed the BJP of hiding MLAs, “ I will request Parrikar to reveal BJP leaders’ (names), especially Sadanand Tanawde who has been calling up Congress MLAs. Let Parrikar release (the names) if he has the courage.”
A confident Parrikar quipped, “ There are wild allegations being made with coloured glasses. As you saw, everyone voluntarily came and voted. Nobody was kept in a hotel or secluded place.”
Evidently, casinos are the sole and most popular plank for politicians in Goa and will continue to be, until some stringent laws are brought in to emphasize their role in the economic structure of the state.
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