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Explained: What is PayCM campaign launched against CM Bommai by Congress?

The Congress in Karnataka intensified its campaign targeting Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai by pasting the 'PayCM' posters at the BJP's Nelamangala office on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Friday.Premium
The Congress in Karnataka intensified its campaign targeting Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai by pasting the 'PayCM' posters at the BJP's Nelamangala office on the outskirts of Bengaluru on Friday.

With the upcoming state Assembly elections, Karnataka Congress has adopted an aggressive strategy against CM Basavaraj Bommai with PayCM campaign. Here is all you need to know

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The Congress has now resorted to aggressive campaigning tactics to counter the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Along with the grand campaign 'Bharat Jodo Yatra' passing through Karnataka with the state assembly elections due next year, the party is also taking shots at individual rival leaders to end the long spell of poor political performance. One of such campaign is PayCM.

In Karnataka, the Congress stepped up its campaign against Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai by pasting"PayCM" posters outside the BJP's Nelamangala headquarters on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

The PayCM poster bears a QR with the photograph of the chief minister. When scanned, it gets directed to a website - '40% Sarkara' - which alleges that the Bommai-led BJP government is charging 40 per cent commission on public works. The website was launched a few days ago by Congress.

Posting the 'PayCM' poster on Twitter, the Karnataka Congress invited the public to scan the QR code on the "PayCM" banner and file complaints against bribery and frauds.

CM Basavaraj Bommai ordered an inquiry, even as Congress took responsibility for pasting the pamphlets and sharing the pictures of its PayCM campaign.

CM Bommai retorted that it is a "fake campaign" and it has damaged his as well as Karnataka's reputation. The posters were taken down from the walls in public areas as soon as the campaign caught the attention of the authorities.

Bommai commented, "It is a systematic conspiracy to spoil my name and also Karnataka. I have directed the officials concerned to book a case. We will get it investigated to find out the people behind it."

BR Naidu, the former head of the social media team for the Congress' Karnataka unit, was taken into custody by the police at his home on Wednesday night.

Later on Friday, All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary KC Venugopal along with another AICC General Secretary and in-charge of Karnataka Randeep Singh Surjewala, state Congress President Shivakumar and a host of leaders participated in the party's review meeting.

Responding to a question, Venugopal said, "PayCM' is not a campaign created by the Congress party. The party is only taking up genuine issues raised by people of Karnataka, everyone is saying this is the most corrupt government in the state."

Congress spokesperson Surjewala said Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai "lords over" the most corrupt government in the entire country. "This is a one scam a day government that he (Bommai) heads."

The root of the allegation

A contractors' body had recently alleged that contractors had to pay 40 per cent commission to get public work contracts, an allegation strongly denied by the Karnataka government.

Congress is attempting to raise the subject of a contractor named Santosh Patil who killed himself at an Udupi hotel earlier this year.

Patil had alleged that KS Eshwarappa, erstwhile Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, had demanded a 40 per cent commission in a public project in his area. Eshwarappa had resigned following the charge.

However, later an investigation carried out by the police gave him a clean chit.

BJP's retaliation

Countering the PayCM campaign, the BJP launched the "Scam-Ramaiah" campaign, which focused on alleged frauds that occurred in Karnataka under the leadership of the 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.

BJP state media cell in-charge Karunakara Khasle said that the BJP state unit has also appealed to the Chief Minister to expose those who were behind this act. Khasle also dared the Congress to submit proof of corruption if they have or else apologise to the government.

(With inputs from agencies)

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