Goa has seven offshore and nine on shore casinos running in the State. The leading political parties in the State, BJP and Congress have taken turns to oppose the presence of casinos while the ruling party looked the other way. Most of the casino licenses were granted during Congress rule between 2007-2012.
The casino industry has always been a point of contention for political parties with their existence and question of legality often being a question mark. With elections coming up the subject of the casino industry has again come to the forefront. In a shocking attack from Revenue and IT Minister Rohan Khaunte has claimed that casino operators are trying to ‘infiltrate and influence’ Lok Sabha elections through a process of enrolling casino employees into the electoral rolls.
Rohan Khaunte who is an independent MLA from Porvorim assembly constituency alleged that casino owners were indulging in mass enrolment of non Goan employees to influence the government policy on the future of the casino industry.
Bizarre as it may seem but Khaunte has even filed a complaint with the Chief Election Officer. He stated “I have already filed a complaint with the Chief Electoral Officer after I found 820 names of casino employees in my constituency of Porvorim. All the new additions have been routed through one Internet Protocol (IP) address.”
Khaunte claims that most of the said employees are from Mizoram and Manipur while some are even from Nepal. He added that most of the employees were from Casino Pride and were living in a rented accommodation. He demanded that the CEO should evaluate the registration of these 820 people and also look into lists in other areas where casino operators exist.
It is likely that Khaunte has named the Director of Casino Pride Group, Mr Shrinivas Nayak in his complaint. Mr. Nayak responded saying that he is not associated with any political party and had simply run an awareness campaign under the Corporate Social Responsibility program to encourage young voters.
When do you think the politicians in this country will grow up?