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Bengaluru's 'Indira' Canteens: Renaming Sets off Dynasty Debate

Dynasty with a capital D is back to ruling Bengaluru's voters, with the soon to be launched subsidised canteens named 'Indira canteens'.

Nagarjun Dwarakanath, Deepa Balakrishnan

Updated:March 28, 2017, 4:53 PM IST
Bengaluru's 'Indira' Canteens: Renaming Sets off Dynasty Debate
File photo of Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah.

Bengaluru: Dynasty with a capital D is back to ruling Bengaluru's voters, with the soon to be launched subsidised canteens named 'Indira' canteens.

The canteens, announced on the lines of Tamil Nadu's 'Amma canteens' in this year budget speech two weeks back, were earlier named 'Namma canteens' (Our canteens, in Kannada).

On the last day of the budget session of the Assembly, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced that the canteens will be named 'Indira' canteens, after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The move evoked protests from the Opposition who questioned the need to perpetuate the Nehru-Gandhi family name yet again.

"Congress is back to showing its loyalty to the dynasty. There are 400 institutions named after one member of the dynasty or the other. Loyalty to dynasty is not working in Delhi, so they have started it here," said BJP MLA and spokesperson S Suresh Kumar, adding that the earlier name of ‘Namma Canteen’ was more apt.

The Bengaluru Metro is already named 'Namma Metro'.

The ruling Congress, however, defended its decision, saying the naming of the canteen was mooted at the last Congress Legislature Party meeting.

ALSO READ: Officials Working in Karnataka Must Learn Kannada, Says CM Siddaramaiah

"It was a call taken by the CLP, all MLAs wanted it. Why are they (BJP) blaming us, they have Vajpayee and Deendayal programmes," retorted a sarcastic Chief Minister, when questioned.

Siddaramaiah further said there's no question of rethinking the name, and it is not being done to please the high command.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister UT Khader said all MLAs had pointed out how Indira Gandhi began the slogan of roti-kapda-makaan and had first talked of subsidised food for the poor to uplift them from poverty.

"Who is the leader who has worked most on subsidised food? Dynasty can't be a disqualification, it has to be a qualification. Hasn't she worked for poor people, whose idea was it to help the poor through Anganwadis and public istribution system? Why was Vajpayee's name brought in for Arogya Shri programme? Did we cancel it when we came to power? They are spending 450 crores per year, why do we continue this?" questioned an angry Khader, adding this advice: "Those who are opposing Indira Gandhi should read the history of Indira Gandhi."

There will be 198 canteens in Bengaluru (one for each ward of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike), serving breakfast at Rs 5 and lunch and dinner at just Rs 10 for the poor. The government has entered into an agreement with the Akshaya Patra Foundation to ensure clean, timely food delivery, and hopes to launch these canteens by May 1 (Labour Day).

ALSO READ: Karnataka Will Show What's 'Ram Rajya', Says CM Siddaramaiah

| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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