Panaji, March 9 (IANS) Justifying nomination of illegal matka (gambling) operators as Congress nominees for the March 22 Zilla Panchayat elections, South Goa Congress MP Francisco Sardinha said in Margao town on Monday people wanted popular candidates.
“People want (candidates) like this. Normally, they choose someone who is popular in the village,” Sardinha told reporters when asked to justify the selection of tainted people, who operated gambling dens.
“See, in fact many a times MLAs and Ministers are matka bookies. It’s unfortunate,” Sardinha said.
Matka, an illegal lottery and gambling, is quite popular in Mumbai and the Konkan region since the 1960s. Winning numbers are generated three times a day, six days a week, like a lottery.
Matka’s popularity stems from the fact that one can wager even Re 1.
The illegal matka business in Goa is pegged at several thousand crores of rupees and several legislators and Ministers in successive state governments have demanded its legalisation.
Michael Lobo, Minister for Ports in the BJP-led coalition government in Goa, said last month legalisation of matka gambling would reduce unemployment as well as increase the state’s goods and services tax (GST) collection.