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Rahul Gandhi’s “PayPM” Swipe After Karnataka “Sweet Box Bribe” Row

Rahul Gandhi's 'PayPM' Swipe After Karnataka 'Sweet Box Bribe' Row

Congress’s Rahul Gandhi-led ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ was recently in Karnataka. (File)

New Delhi:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi doubled down on allegations of corruption against the BJP government in Karnataka — citing reports of “cash gifts” to journalists — and pulled in the Prime Minister, too, for the party’s much-used wordplay using payments app PayTM. 

“The BJP government of ‘PayCM’ and ‘PayPM’,” he said in a tweet, stands for “corruption of ‘double engine’ across the country”, taking a swipe at Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and PM Narendra Modi.

“Before the election, ‘Neither will I take bribe, nor will I allow it’. After election — will eat ‘40% commission’, then send bribes to Karnataka media in sweet boxes on Diwali,” Rahul Gandhi tweeted, in Hindi, citing PM Modi’s “Na khaunga, na khane dunga” promise.

The Congress has alleged — as have other parties and groups — that the Karnataka government takes a “40 per cent cut” in awarding contracts.

The latest row came after allegations that an official from Chief Minister Bommai’s office gave “cash gifts” ranging from Rs 1 lakh to 2.5 lakh with sweet boxes to some journalists on Diwali. The Congress has demanded a judicial inquiry.

The BJP has said the accusation is “far from the truth”, and that the Congress is getting desperate ahead of the state elections due next year.

Three of over 10 journalists who allegedly received the boxes confirmed cash was distributed; two of them said they gave the money back to the CMO, according to a report in The News Minute.

An activist group has filed a complaint with the Karnataka Lokayukta, the anti-corruption ombudsman, against Basavaraj Bommai’s media adviser for allegedly attempting to bribe journalists.

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