Rahul Gandhi inaugurates ‘Indira Canteen’ in Bengaluru, attacks PM Modi
The Congress vice president was in Bengaluru to inaugurate Indira Canteen, the Karnataka government’s subsidised outlets, where he also addressed a public meeting.india Updated: Aug 16, 2017 18:32 IST
The Congress opened Indira Canteens in the Karnataka capital on Wednesday, a populist move of offering cheap and nutritious food to the poor modeled on eateries started by and named after former chief minister J Jayalalithaa in Tamil Nadu.
Party vice president Rahul Gandhi inaugurated the canteens that will offer vegetarian breakfast at Rs 5 and lunch and dinner at Rs 10.
A slip of tongue, however, proved a little embarrassing for the leader during the inauguration. “Under the Siddaramaiah government nobody should go hungry, and that is the vision of the Amma…(pause) Indira Canteen,” he said.
“Millions of people here are construction workers, autorickshaw drivers and barbers who do not have enough money. The Indira Canteens will serve these people,” Gandhi said.
The eateries in Tamil Nadu are called Amma Canteen. The late AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa ran a successful publicity campaign and offered a host of freebies under the branding Amma, or mother, the name she was endearingly given by her legions of supporters.
The subsidised food outlets hugely popularised the former AIADMK leader among the masses in her state.
Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah provided Rs 100 crore in the state budget for this fiscal year to run the canteen scheme in all the 198 civic wards of India’s IT capital.
The move is seen as a strategy to reach out to the poorer sections of society ahead of next year’s assembly elections in the biggest state under Congress rule now.
Known for his trademark rustic wit, Siddaramaiah mocked Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the event, saying the Congress believes in feeding the people rather than lecturing them.
“The Prime Minister does Mann Ki Baat (a radio show), whereas we do vaangibath,” he said.
Vaangibath is a popular local dish prepared with rice and brinjal.
The rhetoric apart, the inauguration appeared hurried.
The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike was running against time to complete the project as canteens were originally supposed to be opened in all the 198 wards on Independence Day.
The number was reduced to 101 and these will be opened on Wednesday for dinner, which will be served free to everyone on the first day, the chief minister said.
The remaining 97 wards will be covered on October 2, marking the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
The civic agency contracted Rewards and Cheftalks Food and Hospitality Services for the food and an app was launched to help locate the canteens. The companies will earn Rs 25 per serving.
(with agency inputs)
First Published: Aug 16, 2017 15:18 IST