Posters titled 'PayCM' with Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai's photograph surfaced in parts of Bengaluru on Wednesday, 21 September.
The posters were designed to look like the electronic wallet, Paytm; the chief minister's face figures in the middle of a QR code with a message that reads, "40 percent accepted here."
If one scans the code, it redirects to a '40 percent Sarkara' website allegedly set up by the Congress. The '40 percent jibe' is a reference to the allegations made by the Karnataka State Contractors Association, which claimed that 40 percent of the tender amount for state-funded infrastructural projects was being taken as a bribe by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and officials, according to Hindustan Times.
The association had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the matter in July last year.
Campaign by Congress?
The development comes in the midst of an aggressive campaign launched against the state government by the Congress.
Soon after the matter came to the notice of the authorities, the posters were removed from public places.
The Twitter handle operated by the party's state unit has, however, posted a video of a young man appealing to the chief minister, with the caption: "These youths do not ask for your treasure… not asking for your party ticket… 40 percent commission is not asked… just asking for a fair job."
'Handiwork of Congress': BJP
However, the BJP has alleged that the 'PayCM' was the handiwork of the Congress party.
Reacting to the Congress' campaign against Bommai , spokesperson of the BJP Capt Ganesh Karnik (Retd) told The Quint, “It is terrible that they have used the chief minister’s face as a QR code. Bommai is the chief minister of the state, not BJP alone. Also, there is no concrete evidence that the opposition has presented. These are just allegations based on a few contractors with links to the Congress."
"It's undoubtedly the handiwork of the Congress. Already, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai has ordered an investigation and booked cases against those involved in this mischief," BJP state media cell in charge Karunakara Khasle told PTI.
He added that the BJP state unit had also appealed to the CM to expose those who were behind this act.
Last week, banners were on display in different parts of Hyderabad in Telangana, which trolled the Karnataka government over the 40 percent kickback accusations levelled by civil contractors.
Bommai had reacted sharply to it and said it was "an organised conspiracy."
"I was supposed to be in Hyderabad but had to cancel my plans due to busy schedule. I have heard about the billboards that appeared in Hyderabad and it is a systematic conspiracy. I do not know whether they are private billboards or government sponsored ones," Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times.)
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