Casino on cruise creates political storm in Chennai and Puducherry

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Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin flagged off the state’s first-ever luxury cruise line ‘The Empress’ from the Chennai Port earlier this month. But the chief minister has come under criticism from The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) on Friday when they questioned the existence of a casino aboard the cruise ship.

The cruise ship which is operated by Cordelia Cruises was said to be carrying 1600 passengers and 600 crew members to a route that culminates at Puducherry. The Empress boats of 11 decks with 796 cabins, a dive-in theatre, and a swimming pool with several food pavilions. But the presence of a casino atop the deck of the ship has been lamented by AIADMK’s Vaiyapuri Manikandan.

Manikandan is the Deputy State Secretary of AIADMK, Puducherry, and has questioned MK Stalin’s involvement with a cruise ship, that has a casino aboard.

“The cruise is scheduled to land on the waters of Puducherry territory tomorrow morning. We strongly condemn the government if it does go ahead with giving permission for the ship to make a stop. Shame on DMK Chief and Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin for having flagged off a ship that has a Casino on deck, what kind of message is he trying to send to the youth? Is he trying to promote gambling? How can an acting CM behave this way? We strongly condemn it,” Manikandan revealed in a conversation with Republic TV.

‘This is not the culture of Puducherry’: Vaiyapuri Manikandan on the history of Drugs and Gambling on Cruise ships

Vaiyapuri is circumspect about Stalin’s latest venture as he believes that apart from tourism, it might also promote the ‘ugliness’ of Drugs and Gambling, citing the example of Goa. He condemned the activities as he believes it is not part of the culture of the people in the South, unlike in the North.

“This is not the culture of Puducherry. We have all seen what has happened with Goa, that might be the culture in the North, but we won’t allow this in the south, not in Pudhuvai,” the AIADMK leader stated.