The Congress on Friday intensified its campaign targeting Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai with the top party leaders putting up ‘PayCM posters’ at public places ignoring state government’s direction to investigate the matter. The Chief Minister hit back saying that the Congress has no moral right to speak about corruption.
Former chief minister Siddaramaiah, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar, All India Congress Committee general secretary and Karnataka in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala and several senior MLAs and others participated in the campaign. They put up the PayCM poster on the Race Course wall in the city opposite the Volvo office.
Later, the Congress leaders were arrested and the posters were removed from the public place. Congress leaders such as B K Hariprasad and others pasted the posters on the bus which police had brought to take away the leaders to the police station. The Congress state chief Shivakumar alleged the police did not take action against those who put up birthday and other posters of politicians illegally but arrest only the Congress people.
“This campaign will go to every nook and corner of the state. We will not stop it here,” Shivakumar said. Surjewala who too was arrested, tweeted, “The #40PercentCommission Bommai Govt is so unnerved that it has given #Karnataka Police the job of tearing up posters & arresting Opposition leaders instead of maintaining law & order. People are waiting to throw out the BJP Govt mired in unbearable stench of corruption.”
The party also pasted the ‘PayCM’ posters at the BJP’s Nelamangala office on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Friday. The party later shared the pictures of its PayCM campaign with media. Chief Minister Bommai retaliated against the charge on Friday. He alleged the Congress party was involved in multiple scams and it has no moral right to talk about corruption.
“The BJP had released a book on the Corruption of the Congress Party and being corrupt they are doing a drive on corruption. Let them do anything, ultimately truth will always triumph. The attitude of talking without any evidence will not last long,” Bommai said.
He also said the government has given a detailed reply on the corruption charges levelled by a Contractors’ Association, which had alleged that ministers allegedly charge 40 per cent commission for the public works. “The Congress party thinks a lie spoken often will become a truth but they are wrong. People know the truth,” Bommai said.
He also said he was ready for a debate on the issue and challenged the Congress to present the evidence instead of indulging in hit-and-run. “Leader of the Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah must say who had given 40 per cent commission. We were ready to listen and for this reason we sat in the House for the whole day,” the chief minister added.
He also alleged that the Contractors’ Association was a Congress-sponsored one and hence, they knew well that there was no stuff in it. “The government is open in this regard and ready to hold an inquiry if a complaint is filed,” the Chief minister said. Rattled with the Congress campaign, the BJP launched a counter-offensive.
It started ‘Scam Ramaiah’ campaign highlighting the various scams that took place during the Congress regime led by Siddaramaiah from 2013 to 2018. It also released a booklet, targeting Siddaramaiah, saying that he ran a ‘100 per cent loot Congress government’.
The booklet had the clippings of newspaper reports on scams that had taken place when Siddaramaiah was the Chief Minister. The BJP legislative council members too staged a demonstration near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue holding placards explaining the scams taken place during the Congress regime.
Addressing a press conference, the state BJP state president Nalin Kumar Kateel alleged that the grand old party, which ruled the country since 1947 gave the major contribution of corruption in the country. The police, probing the matter on Bommai’s instructions had arrested B R Naidu, the former chief of Congress’ Karnataka unit social media team, on Wednesday night from his residence.
The PayCM QR code bearing the photograph of the Chief Minister gets directed to a website – ‘40% Sarkara’ – accusing the Bommai-led BJP government was charging 40 per cent commission on public works. The website was launched a few days ago by the Congress. Ahead of the Assembly elections in Karnataka next year, the Congress is trying to rake up the issue of contractor Santosh Patil’s death by suicide in an Udupi hotel earlier this year.
Patil had accused the then state Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per cent cut in a public work in his district. Eshwarappa had resigned following the charge. However, an investigation carried out by the police gave him a clean chit. Following the PayCM campaign, the BJP started ‘Scam-Ramaiah’ pointing to the alleged scams taken place during the Congress government in Karnataka led by then chief minister Siddaramaiah.
BJP state chief Nalin Kumar Kateel charged that the Congress has falsely accused the Chief Minister and Karnataka has been insulted by this allegation.