Panaji, April 8 (IANS) Sari-clad Playboy bunnies are giving Goa's ruling BJP sleepless nights, as a party legislator has alleged that the government is encouraging prostitution in the state.
Playboy bunnies will feature at the soon to be opened Playboy Club promoted by Playboy Lifestyle, the Indian franchise owner. The company said the bunnies will be sari-clad but the Bharatiya Janata Party's north Goa president Michael Lobo said those will be transparent.
Lobo Monday questioned his own government's wisdom of "canoodling" with Playboy Lifestyle and going out of the way to issue it an operating licence to open shop in Candolim, one of the most popular beach villages in the state. (The licence is yet to be issued)
"I have already formally informed my party that I will not allow Playboy to set up a club in Goa at any cost. They are only a front for prostitution... My government is endorsing prostitution," Lobo told reporters at the state legislative assembly complex.
Lobo is a legislator from Calangute, whose constituency jurisdiction covers Candolim, where the club is due to be started by its promoters.
"It is a global symbol of vulgarity. And our government is actually considering giving it permission. A lot of political forces from outside Goa, including Delhi, are behind pushing these clubs here," Lobo said.
A calling attention motion on the Playboy club issue will be raised in the legislative assembly Tuesday.
The proposed club has been in the news for several months now.
Sanjay Gupta, chief executive officer (CEO) of Playboy Lifestyle told the media in Mumbai recently that there would be no nudity in the Playboy clubs in India.
Even the costumes of the trademark Playboy bunnies would be altered to suit local tastes, he said.
"The costumes of the bunnies which are integral to the Playboy culture, will be based on Indian sensibilities and morals," he reportedly said, adding that the bunnies could even wear saris.
Now the BJP legislator claims that the saris designed in-house by Playboy would be transparent. "This is the way they are playing with our culture," Lobo said.
Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar however told the assembly last week that the proposal from Playboy was certainly on the government's mind.
"We have asked them to submit an affidavit that there would be no vulgarity. How can we deny them licence if they follow all the laws," Parulekar asked, adding that saris would be "Ok" in Goa's environment.
However, behind the intra-party conflict, there is another political aspect to Lobo's Playboy angst.
The club is hosted in a plot of land owned by former Congress legislator Agnelo Fernandes.
"We have already submitted the affidavit to the government that no kind of nudity will be allowed. So I don't know the reason for the fuss," Fernandes told IANS.