PANAJI: The Congress candidate for the Panaji by-election, Girish Chodankar, on Sunday launched his election campaign with a beached offshore casino vessel in the background and attacked his opponent, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar.
Chodankar, who filed his nomination for the Panaji seat where he will face the former Defence Minister, said Parrikar had betrayed the country's defence interests despite border tensions to return to form a government in Goa.
"Our national leaders have ordered us to expose Parrikar who as Defence Minister kept coming to Goa for Goan food even as soldiers were being killed," Chodankar told reporters after launching his campaign.
He said Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Vice President Rahul Gandhi had encouraged him to take the fight to the Parrikar camp in Goa and expose the "duplicity of nationalism" which was being peddled by the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership.
"Parrikar and the BJP have betrayed the nation. When they want to form a government, they run down to Goa leaving sensitive ministries like the Defence Ministry. For them love for the country is secondary to love for power," Chodankar alleged.
He said the casino industry in Goa was being allegedly backed by the BJP leadership and would lead the state to doom, pointing out to the sixth proposed offshore casino vessel which has run aground at Miramar beach in Panaji.
There are five offshore casinos operational in the state. After promising to do away with the offshore casino industry, Parrikar told the monsoon session of the assembly that the offshore casinos would be moved onshore within three years.