BENGALURU: Indira Canteens, launched in August 2017, and established in all 197 wards of the city, have emerged as the welfare symbol of Siddaramaiah government, providing clean, nourishing vegetarian food at subsidised rates for the common man.On the eve of the state going to the polls,
The New Indian Express spoke to several regulars at various Indira Canteens who supported different political parties or ideologies. Ironically, people stopping at these eateries — the first of which was launched by Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Jayanagar on August 15, 2017 — gave a marginal edge to the BJP in the assembly polls. The pro-BJP diners at Indira canteens felt that if the BJP came to power in Karnataka, the canteens would be renamed in a “more nationalistic manner”.
Sudhir M, an IT professional, is one such who suggests that the BJP rename Indira Canteens. “The BJP will change the name of the Indira Canteen to Kittur Rani Chennamma canteen or something more nationalistic,” he said. Arjun Rao, an ardent BJP supporter, suggested that the name should change to ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee Canteen’.
But there were pro-BJP customers, who although confident of a BJP edge at the polls, felt the name should not be changed and should continue as “Indira Canteens”. Thimmaiah, an engineering student predicted a hung assembly: “BJP has an edge; but no, they should not change the name of Indira Canteen if they win. They will only earn a bad name if they do so.”
Dayananda, a goods tempo driver, at an Indira Canteen, said, “The name might not change because it was a Congress plan, but if it is some other party that comes to power, they would probably get rid of them (Indira Canteens) or improvise them.” Sameer, a cab driver, and Shanta, a daily wage labourer, however, were confident that these canteens will run unhindered irrespective of which party comes to power, because they were set up for the good of the people.
Amutha Shetty, a schoolteacher, is sure that Congress will win and Indira Canteens, continue to flourish. Srinivas ML, an auto driver, was confident of a clear victory for the BJP, but said the BJP cannot change the name as it is already registered.
Dayananda, a tempo driver, threw light on the probability of the victory of JD(S) claiming an incapability of either government. However, most diners at these canteens felt whichever party came to power, they would remember these canteens as gift to the common man to fill their tummies at affordable cost.
(With inputs from Madhespriya K, Pragya Dwivedi, and Neetimoni Gogoi)