Rich can gamble in Goa instead of Nepal: Congress leader

June 18th, 2009 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Panaji, June 18 (IANS) Amid strident criticism against the proliferation of offshore casinos by the Goa unit of Congress’ women wing, senior party leader Prabha Thakur Thursday endorsed the industry that has rapidly grown during the Congress-led alliance rule in the coastal state.
All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) president and Rajya Sabha member Thakur said the emergence of casinos in Goa meant that gamblers no longer had to go to Nepal’s gambling dens.

“All over India there are no casinos. Lots of people with money go abroad to countries like Nepal. Now the rich can gamble in Goa which is in their own country, instead of going to Nepal and spending our money there. It is good,” Thakur told reporters.

President of the AIMC’s Goa unit Monica Dias has been critical of casino industry in the state, which she has repeatedly claimed exacted a heavy social cost.

Thakur, however, said casinos would assist the local economy and help Goa by way of increasing the number of tourists coming to the state.

“Goa will get a lot of money. Casinos will also give jobs to people and will help them to start small businesses.”

Commenting on the women’s reservation in legislatures, Thakur said the AIMC had demanded that one seat in every district be reserved for women for the forthcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra.

“That would only be fair. We have made this demand before Sonia Gandhi. In the parliamentary elections too the Congress gave tickets to 44 women candidates, out of which 23 won, which is not a bad performance,” she said.

Thakur accused the detractors of the women’s reservation bill in parliament of having ulterior motives, and said the sooner the bill was tabled in the house, the better it would bode for the country.

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