Food politics hits Karnataka? Campaign-weary BJP workers satiate hunger pangs at Congress’ canteens
Bengaluru, May 5: Here is some food for thought. As the campaign in poll-bound Karnataka has reached a feverish height with big leaders from across the country camping in the state, it is the local karyakartas (party workers) who have been left weary, hungry and thirsty, thanks to the rising temperatures.
While special food is being served for the stalwarts, local party workers are satiating their hunger pangs at small hotels and joints across the state. In fact, going by the viral pictures, Indira Canteen, the pet project of the incumbent Congress government in Karnataka to provide healthy and affordable food to the underprivileged, is attracting a lot of supporters from the opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to dine amid their hectic campaigning schedule.
As BJP karyakartas made a beeline outside the Indira Canteens (located in various parts of the state) to enjoy their meals, the Congress celebrated its move to give food at an affordable price.
Krishna Byre Gowda, minister in the Siddaramaiah government, on Thursday, tweeted a couple of pictures of men flaunting saffron caps and dining at an Indira Canteen.
"Glad that our Indira Canteens are being utilised by BJP supporters - truly showing that the canteens are a boon at an affordable cost. Thanks to the Congress Govt. Working for one and all. #WeWorkForYou," tweeted Gowda.
Glad that our Indira Canteens are being utilised by BJP supporters - truly showing that the canteens are a boon at affordable cost. Thanks to the Congress Govt. Working for one and all. #WeWorkForYou pic.twitter.com/p1nnW0ubEQ— Krishna Byre Gowda (@krishnabgowda) May 3, 2018
Last year in August, Congress president Rahul Gandhi inaugurated the first Indira Canteen in Bengaluru's Jayanagar, keeping an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections. Today, one could see Indira Canteen, named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in almost all the 198 wards in Bengaluru. The canteens are also located in other parts of the state.
The subsidised dishes at the canteens are a hit among the underprivileged people of the state. The canteens serve breakfast, dinner and lunch for foodies. The entire idea of Indira Canteen has been borrowed from Tamil Nadu's Amma Canteen, started by late chief minister Jayalalithaa of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). The Amma Canteens serve healthy and affordable local dishes. Experts say Amma Canteens are one of the reasons for Jayalalithaa's win in her last Assembly elections in 2016 before she died.
The dishes at Indira Canteens are available between Rs 5 to Rs 10, which is the reason that even officer-goers could be seen gorging on local delicacies like bisibelebath, puliyogere and vegetable pulao, to name a few, at the eateries.
Even the Janata Dal (Secular) runs its own canteen, Appaji Canteen, named after party patriarch and former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda, located at the party headquarters in Bengaluru.
In its manifesto released on Friday, the BJP said it was planning to set up Annapoorna canteens in place of Indira canteens. As food politics has made a strong ground in Karnataka, it is the foodies who will decide the fate of politicians in the Assembly elections scheduled on May 12. The results of the elections will be declared on May 15.