Indira Canteen
Indira CanteenTwitter/Karnataka Congress

In another major blow to Karnataka Congress, the state government has now decided to rechristen Indira Canteen after the Adi Kavi (first poet) and author of Ramayana, Maharshi Valmiki.

The state revenue minister R Ashoka on Tuesday (December 12) said that the government-run food subsidisation programme will be renamed as Maharshi Valmiki Anna Kutira (Valmiki Food Centre). He said that the proposal is to change names of the canteens outside Bengaluru as the Silicon Valley does not come under him and the decision belongs to chief minister BS Yediyurappa.

The minister said that the idea to change the name came after a suggestion was made by MLA of Shorapur, G Raju Gouda. He said that that the canteen is not identified with just any single party and has a broad-based acceptance.

Indira Canteen, the brainchild of Siddaramaiah

Indira Canteen was the brainchild of Congress leader and former CM Siddaramaiah, who launched the subsidised food programme in August 2017 at Bengaluru ahead of the assembly elections. The programme was later extended to other parts of the state after its huge success.

Rahul Gandhi flubs Indira Canteen, calls it Amma Canteen
Rahul Gandhi eating at Indira Canteen.Twitter

However, Congress has lashed out at the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for involving in petty politics with a scheme aimed at aiding economically disadvantaged sections of society. Siddaramiah said that the saffron party is playing cheap politics by renaming the canteen.

He also tweeted from his official handle saying "We are inspired by the Garibi Hato slogan of former PM Indira Gandhi who had fought against poverty. She is not just a Congress party leader but that of the entire country and especially of poor people."

Siddaramaiah said that they have respect for Maharishi Valmiki but the BJP is misusing his name. He said that rather than renaming existing scheme, the government should come up with some new scheme that befits the stature of Valmiki.

Earlier also the government had planned to rename the canteen as Annapoorna after Yediyurappa took oath as the chief minister of Karnataka.