An actor based in Bengaluru has flagged the use of his photo in the ‘PayCM’ poster campaign by Karnataka Congress aimed at chief minister Basavaraj Bommai. The actor, identified as Akhil Iyer on Twitter, on Friday alleged that the campaign used his photo illegally and without his consent, and promised legal action on the matter.
On Twitter, Iyer said he was “appalled” to see his face being used illegally and without his consent by the state Congress in its campaign against the ruling BJP. He said he had “nothing to do with” the ‘40% Sarkara” campaign and also tagged Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Siddaramaiah, as well as the official Twitter handle of the Karnataka Congress to look into the matter.
I am appalled to see that my face is being used illegally and without my consent for “40% Sarkara” – an @INCIndia campaign that i have nothing to do with.
— Akhil Iyer (@akhiliy) September 23, 2022
As part of the ‘PayCM’ campaign, in one of the posters that features Iyer’s face, it is mentioned: “Are you still numb? The gluttony of 40% Sarkara has robbed over 54,000 youths of a career.”
The “40% Sarkara” phrase in the posters is being used to highlight the alleged “commission rate” of 40 per cent under the current BJP regime.
Cong leaders Siddaramaiah, DK Shivakumar detained
Leader of opposition in the Karnataka legislative assembly, Siddaramaiah was detained in the state capital earlier in the evening, along with state Congress chief DK Shivakumar and MP Randeep Singh Surjewala, for allegedly pasting the ‘PayCM’ campaign posters against Bommai.
“Yes, this (‘PayCM’ poster protest) will continue in the entire state. This is a campaign by the Congress party against this “40% corruption government”, Siddaramaiah said after being detained.
With the ‘PayCM’ poster campaign, the Congress seems to have intensified its campaign to target Bommai. It pasted some of the posters outside the BJP’s Nelamangala office on the outskirts of Bengaluru. The party later shared pictures of its campaign with the media.
None of the allegations true: CM Bommai
Police are probing the matter on instructions from Bommai, who said, “None of the allegations are true. They’ve (Congress) has given no evidence. It’s all politically motivated. I’ve challenged them to produce proofs. During their (Congress) tenure, there were many scams that should be looked into. QR code (‘PayCM’) is an evil design.”
On September 21, police had arrested BR Naidu, former chief of the state unit’s social media team from his residence. The ‘PayCM’ QR code bearing the photograph of the CM gets directed to a website – ‘40% Sarkara’ – alleging that the BJP-led state government was charging 40 per cent commission on public works. The website was launched a few days ago by the Congress.
The campaign, ahead of the assembly elections in the state next year, has to do with the issue of contractor Santosh Patil’s death by suicide at a hotel in Udupi earlier this year.
The contractor had accused the then state rural development and panchayat raj minister KS Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per cent cut for civic works in his district. Eshwarappa had resigned following the charge but a police investigation gave him a clean chit.
(With PTI inputs)