‘PayFarmer’: Karnataka farmers’ body picks up viral ‘PayCM’ campaign
The Karnataka Congress’s “PayCM” campaign seems to be catching on. Following the trend, farmers’ association Raita Sangha has started a campaign titled “PayFarmer,” demanding that the government pay sugarcane farmers their dues immediately.
Farmer leader Darshan Puttanaiah started the campaign by pasting posters in various places and alleged that the government was “against farmers’ interests”. The Karnataka Rashtra Samiti (KRS) party, led by social activist Ravi Krishna Reddy, is running video campaigns against alleged corruption in the state. It has created a QR code campaign called “OURCM.”
The BJP has tried to hit back at Congress by attacking opposition leader Siddaramaiah, KPCC chief DK Shivakumar, and former AICC president Rahul Gandhi. The BJP’s social media team is working full time to make both online and offline attacks on Congress, especially as Rahul leads the mega Bharat Jodo Yatra.
History of PayCM
The Karnataka Congress’s PayCM campaign owes its genesis to a barb made by Rahul Gandhi, then party vice-president, at the PM in 2016, saying PayTM was “Pay to Modi.” The Karnataka Congress smartly picked it up to start a campaign against the scam-hit ruling BJP in the state. On September 21 morning, “PayCM” posters popped up on the gates and walls of CM Basavaraj Bommai’s house.
In recent times, the Congress has become more aggressive in Karnataka than in any other state. Though its state president DK Shivakumar has been facing corruption cases, its legislative party leader Siddaramaiah is grabbing all attention because of his aggressive attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Siddaramotsava” made history and showed his strength.
After that, the PayCM posters against the Basavaraj Bommai government became a morale booster for Congress workers. There was a minor hiccup when Karnataka Congress biggies DKS and Siddaramaiah’s hug at Siddaramotsava turned ugly during a party office bearers’ meeting. DKS made a statement against Siddaramaiah, but the PayCM posters brought them together to take a dig at BJP.
A source revealed that Sunil Kanugolu’s political strategy team, which is working for Congress, came up with the PayCM campaign idea. The team coined the “creative word” after Siddaramaiah started a campaign against the BJP for the “40 per cent commission” scam based on the Karnataka State Contractors Association’s (KSCA) allegations. The PayCM campaign has since then grabbed the eyeballs of the public.
Campaign reaches grassroots
Now, the campaign has effortlessly reached the grassroots. Recently, the Congress members of Hubballi Dharwad Municipal Corporation, led by Rajat Ullagaddimath, launched the “PayMayor” campaign against the ruling BJP. They alleged that the mayor had looted public money to honour President Draupadi Murmu during her visit.
The BJP is also facing the heat at the local level, which is its stronghold. The Congress is waging the same QR code war at the gram panchayats, taluk panchayats, and municipalities.
The BJP has tried to hit back by releasing posters with slogans such as “ScamRamaiah”. BJP state president Nalin Kumar Katil mocked PayCM as “Pay Congress Madam”. BJP workers have also posted QR codes with Siddaramaiah’s image. However, this copycat campaign is not working well, said a source in the party.
BJP has also tweeted google tags with Congress scams and damaging facts about Rahul and his mother Sonia Gandhi, the present Congress president. The BJP government even arrested Congress’s social media personnel for posting PayCM posters. But all these only helped the Congress campaign against BJP gain momentum.
The BJP even alleged that Congress has been attacking a Lingayat CM to divert attention. Congress hit back, saying the BJP was trying to protect the corrupt CM on the pretext of caste.