PANAJI: If the BJP believes in the 'one law, one country' principle, how can it propose a law banning Goans from entering casinos while allowing domestic tourists to do so, the Congress said on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference at the state Congress headquarters here, party spokesperson Trajano D'Mello said that if Chief Minister Pramod Sawant believes that casinos were harmful to Goans, how could they not be harmful to the thousands of domestic tourists who visit the coastal state every year.
"The BJP believes in 'Akhand Bharat' and the principle of 'one country, one law'. If that is the case, how can the Chief Minister ban Goans from casinos and allow our brethren from the rest of India to gamble in them? Does he not care for the well-being of Indians in general. If Sawant believes that casinos are poison for Goans, how can they be honey to those from the rest of India?" D'Mello said.
Last week, Sawant had told the state legislative assembly that entry of native Goans would be banned from the onshore and offshore casinos in the state. "Casinos are essentially for tourists. We will soon fix a date from when Goans will be banned from entering both the onshore as well as offshore casinos," Sawant had said.
In recent years, the coastal state has emerged as a leading casino tourism destination and the gradual rise in the casino industry in Goa has coincided with an increase in tourist footfalls.
D'Mello said that instead of allowing tourists to lose money in Goa's casinos, the industry should be banned forthwith. "If the casinos are harmful to Goans... then they are equally harmful to non-Goans too. The industry itself should be shut down," he said.
Currently there are six offshore and nine onshore casinos operating from Goa. While the casinos were mostly allowed and licensed by the previous Congress-led coalition government, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now being accused by the Opposition of going back on its promise to ban the casino industry.