Rajendra Arlekar, the chief spokesperson of the Bharathiya Janatha Party (BJP), made a very strong statement to the Times of India regarding casinos in India. The BJP remarked that they would cancel the licenses of offshore casinos if and when their political party was elected to power.
However, in direct contradiction to its current standing on casinos, the BJP was the political entity responsible for permitting the first offshore casino of India to be based in Goa in 1999. The BJP had formed a coalition government with the Goa People’s Party and allowed the first offshore casino to operate in Goa during its time in office.
Now that the Congress government has granted licenses to offshore casinos, the BJP has surprisingly become one of the most vociferous opponents of offshore casinos. Manohar Parrikar, the opposition leader, has not only criticized the Congress, but had also demanded that the Congress should cancel these licenses.
Regarding the party’s chances of winning, he said that party is careful about its selection of candidates for the elections this March and that only candidates capable of winning will be selected.
Arlekar also claimed said that the minorities had realized that wrong information regarding the BJP had been spread and were now willing to give the BJP a chance. Although it claims that it does not follow a policy of appeasing minorities, the BJP has selected seven Catholic candidates this time around.
The BJP has specifically stated that casinos are centers of money laundering and lead to destruction of the Goan culture. When asked if the BJP will definitely withdraw offshore casino licenses when it comes to power, Arlekar said that it can be done if possible and added that the BJP won’t insist on having casinos if the people of Goa are definitely against casinos.