A week after the Congress party in Karnataka launched its anti-corruption campaign in the State, posters captioned “PayCM” were plastered across Bengaluru city on Tuesday. The posters have a picture of Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and a QR code that leads to the campaign website www.40percentsarkara.com.
The Congress launched the website on September 13 with the slogan “40% sarkara, BJP means brashtachara,” to protest the 40% commission rate that contractors have claimed has become the norm for all government contracts under the BJP government in Karnataka. The portal claims to “expose BJP’s corruption” and accuses the BJP government of having looted Rs 1,50,000 crore in the last three years.
The website also allows aggrieved citizens to mark their protest and file complaints. It has an option to ‘raise your voice’ by clicking on an icon. The site also indicates that almost one lakh ‘voices’ have been raised so far through this. It also allows citizens to submit complaints along with their name, mobile number and assembly constituency.
Posters of CM Bommai at a bus stand in Bengaluru
The website also displays a rate card of commissions demanded for various government deals. It alleges that deals for COVID-19 supplies require 75%. “Public works contracts, math grants and procurement,” allegedly attract a commission of 40%. The rate card also lists the amount of bribe that is to be paid to gain employment and transfers in various government departments. It ranges from Rs 10 crore for Vice-chancellor and BDA Commissioner posts to Rs 10 lakh for PWD junior engineer and railway jobs.
The Karnataka State Contractors Association had earlier alleged that ministers, MLAs and other officials demand bribes worth 40% of the project cost for any public works contract. Their complaints to the Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had seen no results. The flooding in Bangalore in September had raised a public outcry against the poor state of public infrastructure, especially roads in the capital city, once again drawing attention to the rampant corruption.