AAP vows to 'cleanse' Goa of casinos, narcotics

It may have been “bijli” and “paani” which catapulted the Aam Aadmi Party into power in Delhi. In Goa, India’s youngest political force may “gamble” on casinos.

Addressing the first formal press conference after signing up pop star Remo and several leading civil society personalities here, AAP member Oscar Rebello said issues like proliferation of casinos, narcotics and real estate lobbies would be in the party crosshairs.

The AAP will also focus on generic agendas like a strong Lokayukta, public service guarantee and grassroots governance.

“We will be against casinos. The way in which Goa is projected as a Las Vegas is something sad and distressing,” Rebello said.

He added that the party would oppose the narcotics trade, which is continuing unabated in Goa, irrespective of the colour of the political dispensation in power.

Goa has five operational offshore casinos and nearly a dozen onshore casinos, which attract hundreds of thousands of gamblers to the state annually.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which had promised to “throw the casinos into the sea”, reversed its stand after coming to power in 2012.

Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the casinos would be relocated into the deep seas off Goa, only after four years.

Rebello added that while the newly formed unit of AAP had not had the time to formulate an agenda for Goa, he said the BJP-led coalition had left people “dejected and disappointed”.
The AAP will contest Goa’s two Lok Sabha seats.

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