Indian Lawmaker Threatens Hunger Strike if Playboy Club Opens

PANAJI, India —  A plan to open a Playboy club in Goa is facing stiff opposition by local lawmakers — one who is even threatening a hunger strike.

Michael Lobo, a state legislator in India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is opposing the club proposed on Candolim beach, claiming it will foster prostitution.

Lobo called the Playboy club a “glorified dance bar” and worried that the establishment would promote sex tourism and vulgarity.

“I will resort to hunger strike until death if the Playboy club is allowed in Goa,” Lobo said.

Although no nudity is planned and the hostess sari-inspired “Bunny Girl” costumes are tame by Western standards, Lobo said it was “obvious” nobody would pay for membership “just to sit and eat groundnuts." “They will try to get value for money. Government will not be able to control the happenings inside the club once it is granted permission,” he said.

If the clubs open, “families won’t come here,” he added.

According to Goa’s Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar, the application for the first club, planned for Calangute — Lobo’s constituency — is under consideration, but warned that “vulgarity” would not be tolerated.

A license for the club has already been delayed for several months by the tourism board.

“Anything which affects the morality and culture of Goa will be opposed by the party. If this Playboy is the same Playboy which is abroad, then we will definitely oppose it,” Wilfred Mesquita, a BJP spokesman told the Wall Street Journal India.

The rival Congress party is reportedly also opposed to the clubs.

But Sanjay Gupta, chief executive officer of PB Lifestyle Ltd., the Mumbai-based company that has an exclusive license to market Playboy merchandise and run the clubs is confident the club will go forward.

“We filed an affidavit to the government categorically stating that as far as our club format goes, there is definitely no vulgarity,” Gupta said.

Plans call for the opening of 120 clubs, hotels, fashion cafes and shops in India over the next 10 years.