#PayCM trends on Twitter; two Cong social media members detained
Bengaluru police have taken in two members of the Congress' social media team for questioning over the controversial ‘PayCM’ posters pasted across the city on Wednesday. Meanwhile, #PayCM trended on Twitter with a horde of tweets.
The Basavaraj Bommai-led government in Karnataka fumed after posters of the chief minister appeared across the city titled “PayCM” along with a QR code, an attempt at furthering the allegation that the government takes 40% commission on most public works.
CM Bommai has ordered an inquiry into the incident, which he claimed was targeted at him only to tarnish his image and the state's while denying the said allegations. Bommai also ordered the arrest of those involved in putting up the posters, which have gone viral on social media.
Following the order by Bommai, a communication cell member of the Karnataka Congress, B R Naidu, was picked up by High Grounds police in Bengaluru at around 2am from his residence on Thursday.
"Condemn the Arrest of @brnaidu1978 in the mid night by Karnataka police for the tweet #PayCM. @BSBommai avere you should stop collecting money and stop harassing those who are raising their voice against Corruption in BJP government #WeStandwithBRNaidu," Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Manickam Tagore B tweeted.
A report by The New Indian Express said KPCC social media resource person D A Gagan Yadav was also taken by police from his residence in K R Puram overnight and brought to the Sadashivanagar police station for questioning. The publication also quoted top cop Pratap Reddy as saying that the police are on the hunt for those pasting the ‘PayCM’ posters.
Bengaluru's civic body, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), filed a complaint with the Bengaluru police, after which three first information reports (FIRs) were filed against unknown persons for putting up the controversial posters, which embarrassed the state government, India Today reported.
Police have filed the cases under the Karnataka Open Places (Prevention of Disfigurement) Act and other relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the report added.
All cases on the ‘PayCM’ row have since been transferred to City Crime Branch (CCB) by police. IPS officer Raman Gupta, the joint commissioner of police for Crime at the CCB told Hindustan Times that no arrests have been made so far.
Soon after the posters were discovered, police visited the CV Raman Road near Mekhri Circle and a few other places in Bengaluru to tear them down. A video of the same surfaced on social media.
Congress worker Priyank Kharge, who is the chairman of communications at the KPCC and son of party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, shared the video and wrote, “Govt might be able remove these #PayCM posters, but how are they going to justify their corruption to the people of Karnataka? Everything is for sale in the state for the right price, including the CM’s chair. ( ₹2500 cr).”
#PayCM also trended on Twitter, with netizens flooding the hashtag with posts. “#PayCM - Now pay your bribes directly! No middlemen, no hidden charges! #40% Sarkara,” a Twitter user called Arjun wrote.
Srinivas B V, the national president of the Congress' youth wing, shared a poster of the PayCM graphic, which read: "Your deals, our commission. It's time for #PayCM. Issued in public interest. Regards - Corrupt BJP govt's corrupt CM."
Another Twitter user called Ankit Mayank shared the Paytm advertisement which had been tweaked to show CM Bommai's face instead of the actor's and advertised 'PayCM' instead. Take a look:
Congress supporters also started sharing similar posters of prime minister Narendra Modi. Chetan Krishna on Twitter wrote, “#PayPM just like #PayCM.”
BJP state media cell in-charge Karunakara Khasle told news agency PTI on Wednesday that the BJP state unit has also appealed to the chief minister to expose those who were behind the act. Khasle also dared the Congress to submit proof of corruption or apologise to the government.