In a move that has been dubbed as a "deflection technique" by the Opposition BJP, the Karnataka government has decided to rename 100 Morarji Desai government residential schools to Smt. Indira Gandhi schools.
A notification issued on July 5 by the state government states that the order was passed after a request was filed by the Managing Director of the Karnataka Residential Education Institutions Society.
According to the notification, between 2016-17, the Social Welfare Department had decided to set up 278 residential schools in the state.
These were to be named after former Prime Minister Morarji Desai and freedom fighter Kittur Rani Chennamma.
Of the 100 schools that were to be named after Morarji Desai, 66 are for Scheduled Caste, 24 for Scheduled Tribes and 10 for backward lasses.
These schools, as per the government order, will be renamed after former PM Indira Gandhi.
Speaking to Republic TV, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that replacing Morarji Desai and Kittur Rani Chennamma with Indira Gandhi's name was demeaning to the leaders.
He said that this only indicated the absence of a strong leader in the Congress party today. "They want to fall back on history, fall back on Indira Gandhi. For how long will Rahul Gandhi fall back on the family hierarchy and family achievements?" he asked.
CM Siddaramaiah has earlier denied allegations that the names of the schools would be changed to Indira Gandhi schools. Instead, he said, new schools would be named after India's first and only woman Prime Minister.
"The state government wants to name the newly established residential schools after Indira Gandhi. The government has no intention to change the name of existing residential schools,'' the Chief Minister said in a release, Times Now reported.
The state government on Wednesday launched 101 Indira Canteens in Bengaluru in order to provide subsidised food to the poor.
Keeping the Assembly Elections in mind, the Congress government has been introducing a slew of projects in order to maintain its voter base.
As Raghu Krishan point out in Business Standard, "With less than a year for the assembly elections, Siddaramaiah has been making efforts to appease the voters in Bengaluru by launching a slew of infrastructure projects, for the startup ecosystem, and also the urban poor with Indira Canteens, modelled on the Amma canteen that brought back the late J Jayalalithaa into power in neighbouring Tamil Nadu."