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JD (S) to launch Appaji Canteen in Bengaluru today

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-08-2017 Sharan Poovanna

Bengaluru: T.A.Sharavana, Janata Dal (Secular) member of Karnataka legislative council will open the first (of possibly many more) ‘Namma Devegowda Appaji Canteen’ in Bengaluru on Wednesday, sparking a confrontation with the ruling Congress party and its proposal to build ‘Indira Canteens’ in Bengaluru.

Modelled around late Tamil Nadu chief minister J.Jayalalithaa’s ‘Amma Canteen’ concept, Sharavana’s canteens, set up at a cost of Rs10 lakh, will serve breakfast (7.30 am to 10.30 am) at Rs5, tea/coffee at Rs3 and lunch (12.30 pm to 2.30 pm) at Rs10.

Inspired by the success in Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh have tried to emulate the concept of subsidised canteens under different names, but without the same success.

“This is not for political gain but for humanity. This canteen will ensure the poorest sections of society can afford a good meal,” Sharavana said.

While Sharavana’s privately funded venture is a tribute to JD(S) supremo and former prime minister H.D.Devegowda, the Congress has continued its tradition of naming government sponsored schemes after the Gandhis.

So far, Siddaramaiah’s Indira canteen -- it has a budget of Rs100 crore -- has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. There has been talk of misuse of funds, the canteens have come under fire for their location (some are inside parks and temples, and a few have come up in place of heritage structures) . The state government has been in a hurry to set up these canteens ahead of next years polls. Siddaramaiah also announced the setting up of ‘Saviruchi’ canteens in all 30 districts of the state in February this year.

Sharavana said he will look to open more canteens across the city and the state in coming months.

“The Appaji food canteen seems like an attempt by the JD (S) to focus on the urban electorate, especially from the poor and lower middle classes,” Chandan Gowda, political analyst and faculty at the Azim Premji University in Bengaluru said.

The JD(s) is known for its pro-rural-pro-farmer image.

“Of all the things the political parties do to win votes, I won’t grudge this one. Crores are spent on advertisements, TV, posters. Food canteens are preferable to these expensive campaigns. It shouldn’t be surprising if the JD(S) and BJP came up with counter populist schemes,” Gowda added.

But the JD(s) has taken the first bite in the canteen wars.

“Before Indira Idly, Devegowda Muddhe (ragi ball) will be served,” Sharavana said

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