The Bengaluru Police on Friday detained Congress leaders — former chief minister Siddaramaiah, party president D Shivakumar, AICC general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala, BK Hariprasad, Opposition leader in the legislative council, and Priyank Kharge, chairman of the Congress media communications unit — for putting up posters that read — ‘PayCM, 40% Commission BJP Sarkaara’.
“None of the allegations are true. They have given no evidence. I’ve challenged them to produce proofs. During their tenure, there were many scams that should be looked into,” Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai has clarified. Meanwhile, CT Ravi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary, strongly reacted to the allegations, calling the Congress’s campaign against corruption “comical”.
The decision of the top leaders to join the poster exercise came in the wake of the arrest of five Congress workers who allegedly pasted posters that carried a QR code with an embedded picture of Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai.
A helpline number has also been provided for people to file complaints of corruption, call and share their stories or upload documents exposing corrupt politicians and officials. Meanwhile, the Congress continued its tirade against the ruling BJP government in Karnataka by printing the message of a “40% corrupt government” on the hood of autorickshaws.
CONGRESS’S BATTLE IS ON
Continuing with the fight, not just Bommai, the Congress released posters with morphed pictures of Karnataka ministers namely Ashwath Narayan, D Sudhakar, Shivaram Hebbar and BJP leaders such as B Y Vijayendra, who is also the vice-president and son of former BJP chief minister B S Yediyurappa.
“We will not bow down to pressure tactics like arresting our party workers. Rather, we will take it up more aggressively. Instead of investigating who is pasting posters exposing the BJP, the state government should use the police machinery to thoroughly investigate the PSI recruitment scam, 40% commission scam alleged by contractors’ association, and claims made by school associations. Why are they showing such urgency in arresting Congressmen,” asked Congress spokesperson and chairman of the research wing Mansoor Khan.
The Congress campaign, which was launched on September 13, is expected to gain momentum when Congress leader Rahul Gandhi enters the state as part of his Bharat Jodo Yatra, said a senior Congress leader.
To counter the Congress campaign, the BJP released a detailed booklet describing the various scams, corruption charges, and improperly implemented schemes by the Congress government. They targeted Siddaramaiah and called him “scam-Ramaiah” to emphasise on the number of scams that were exposed during his term.
“Whenever BJP comes to power, Congress is Karnataka cannot tolerate it. They want to malign the image of govt with false allegations”: BJP’s Capt G Karnik. Congress’ Nagaraju Yadav responds
— News18 (@CNNnews18) September 23, 2022
“There cannot be a Congress without corruption and vice-versa. A person who is out on bail and can go to jail anytime is talking today about corruption. He dares to talk against corruption and he is accompanied by others who are champions of corruption. Corruption and Congress are two sides of a coin,” Ravi said, directing his remarks towards Shivakumar and Siddaramaiah.
NO MEANS NO: ACTOR
Meanwhile, in an embarrassment for the Congress, Mumbai-based actor Akhil Iyer tweeted that his photograph was used without his permission in one of their posters campaigning against the BJP.
I am appalled to see that my face is being used illegally and without my consent for “40% Sarkara” – an @INCIndia campaign that i have nothing to do with.
— Akhil Iyer (@akhiliy) September 23, 2022
Iyer is considering taking legal action against those running the ‘40% Sarkaara’ website.
“A journalist sent me the poster and asked if I was part of the campaign. I was surprised. I decided to put out a statement on social media. I have nothing to do with the campaign that my photo has been used for. I would rather want my work as an actor to be recognised and not be tagged as the poster boy of some political campaign,” Iyer told News18.