Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday ordered an inquiry after “PayCM” posters with the photo of him surfaced in several parts of Bengaluru. The CM called it a “conspiracy and systematic campaign” to “tarnish his and state’s reputation”.
Bommai has directed the officials to file a case and identify those behind the incident. On being asked about whether the opposition Congress was behind it, the CM said, “It is a systematic conspiracy to spoil my name and also Karnataka. Instructions have been given to the authorities concerned to immediately book a case. Everyone knows how to do such baseless campaigns on social media. This has no value. Also, people know who is running the campaign. The government will make efforts to put an end to any attempts made to tarnish the image of Karnataka”.
The CM said he is hurt because more than him, Karnataka is getting a bad name due to such a campaign. The posters, which appeared in the central region of the Bengaluru city resembled advertisements of the electronic wallet Paytm.
Bommai’s face figures in the middle of the QR code with the message “40% accepted here”. “Scan the QR code to make CM Pay for corruption,” the poster reads. Later, these posters were removed from public places by the authorities.
“Scanning the QR code takes the user to the 40 per cent ‘sarkara’ website launched by the Congress for the (bribery) complaints,” according to news agency PTI sources.
This came amid an ongoing campaign against the BJP-led Karnataka government by the Congress, which charged it with corruption in awarding public contracts and government recruitment.
Recently, a contractors’ body had alleged that contractors had to pay 40 per cent commission as bribery to get public works contracts. However, this allegation was strongly refuted by the state government.
Speaking to PTI, BJP state Media cell in charge Karunakara Khasle claimed that this was the “handiwork of Congress”. “It’s undoubtedly the handiwork of the Congress. Already Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has ordered an investigation and booked cases against those involved in this mischief,” Khasle said and dared Congress to submit proof of corruption if they have or else apologise to the Karanataka government.