PayCM Campaign: After late night police action, BJP decides to pay back Congress in its own coin

The ruling BJP seemed to mellow a bit on its decision to use the police to rein in the Congress after the Opposition party launched a PayCM campaign seeking to show Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai in poor light, accusing him of leading a regime that took a 40% cut in government contracts.

In a late-night operation, the Bengaluru City Police took custody of two Congress social media members, and two others later. But, apparently on orders from the government, the police booked two persons under the charges of disfigurement of public walls in Bengaluru, a less serious offence compared to designing the QR code with CM face on it.

The Congress on Wednesday released posters designed with a QR code named `PayCM’ featuring a line portrait of Bommai. Its members pasted the posterns at public places in Bengaluru, seeking to embarrass the chief minister and the ruling BJP. Scanning the QR code took visitors to the Congress party site giving details of alleged scams of the BJP regime. The code also provided a mobile number, urging citizens to miss-call it to raise their voice against corruption.

The police went slow on Thursday after their late-night action evoked strong reactions from the Congress led by Siddaramaiah who threatened to join the party workers and paste posters and challenged the police to arrest him. Separately, in the Legislative Council, the Congress members staged a dharna protesting the police action and demanding them to arrest the BJP leaders too for carrying out what they called a ‘smear campaign’ against Siddaramaiah and other leaders.

The former CM reacted strongly to the news of arrests and asked if the police would also arrest the BJP leaders who have launched campaigns maligning him and the State Congress president DK Shivakumar.

“I will join my party workers in sticking posters about the 40% commission corruption of @BJP4Karnataka. Let @BJP4Karnataka govt arrest me also,” he challenged the CM in a tweet. “Was @BSBommai sleeping when BJP did a campaign targeting Congress leaders personally?”.

He wondered how many people the BJP could jail “for speaking the truth. Will they construct a jail in every village?” he said.

The BJP decided to duck the police route and chose to back the Congress in its own coin. The party’s state unit president Nalinkumar Kateel released a 28-page booklet called Scam-Ramaiah, calling the Congress government under him `a 100% loot regime.’ The booklet highlighted reports of the alleged scandals during the five-year rule of Siddaramaiah from 2013.

The AAP too joined the campaign war on Thursday, releasing QR codes targeting the BJP, Congress and JD(S), calling them to have led 10%, 20% and 40% governments in Karnataka.

The two main political parties have raised their campaign pitch as Karnataka is headed to what is likely to be a tough assembly polls in about eight months.