Ouster of offshore casinos tops Goa Shiv Sena’s poll agenda

March 27th, 2009 - 10:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Uddhav Thackeray Panaji, March 27 (IANS) Ouster of offshore casinos from Goa is on top of the poll agenda of the Goa Shiv Sena, which will contest both the Lok Sabha seats in the coastal state.
Speaking to IANS from Mumbai, president of the Goa unit of the Shiv Sena Upendra Gaonkar said that his candidature for the North Goa seat and party vice-president Namdev Naik for the South Goa was formally endorsed by the party’s executive president Uddhav Thackeray Friday evening.

“The ouster of offshore casinos will be our main poll plank. We are in the process of planning a strategy against the offshore casinos,” said Gaonkar, adding that the Shiv Sena would also pitch for making Marathi the official language of Goa during the poll campaign.

At present Konkani is the official language of Goa, while Marathi has been granted official status.

Asked about the Goa Shiv Sena’s stand on the ‘Mumbai for Mumbaikars’ slogan chanted by their Maharashtra counterparts, considering a sizeable number of Goans settled down in the commercial capital, Gaonkar said that for the Shiv Sena, Goans were part of Maharashtra’s ethos.

“The Shiv Sena in Maharashtra has no problems with Goans settling down in Maharashtra because there are several cultural similarities. It is the appropriation of Mumbai by Biharis and people from Uttar Pradesh that the Shiv Sena has a problem against,” Gaonkar said, adding that the Shiv Sena would continue its campaign against paraprantis (outsiders) from the northern regions of India.

Speaking about the Goa Shiv Sena’s ‘casino hatao’ Lok Sabha poll mantra, Gaonkar said the seven offshore casinos anchored in the Mandovi river off Panaji, were responsible for the rising crime, prostitution and moral bankruptcy in Goa. “There is no compromise. They have to be moved out of there,” Gaonkar said.

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