Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday inaugurated Indira Canteens in Bengaluru for the poor, saying even the "poorest and the weakest in the city cannot go hungry", however, he had a momentary slip when he referred to the initiative as Amma Canteens, a legacy of late Tamil nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa.
"Many people in Bengaluru live in huge houses, drive rich cars and for them food is not an issue. But millions of people here are construction workers, auto-rickshaw drivers and barbers who do not have enough money. The Indira Canteens will serve these people," Gandhi said while inaugurating the canteen at Jayanagar ward with an apparent eye on the assembly elections slated for early 2018.
In this video tweeted by NDTV, Gandhi is heard saying: "In a matter of a few months, the poor people across most cities in Karnataka will be able to eat in these Amma...er...Indira canteens."
The state government plans to take the canteens to every district in Karnataka.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had provided Rs 100 crore in the state budget for this fiscal (2017-18) to run the canteens in all the 198 civic wards on the lines of the popular Amma Unavagam in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, started by Jayalalithaa. The subsidised food outlets had hugely popularised the former AIADMK leader among the masses in Tamil Nadu.
Along with the Chief Minister, city Mayor G. Padmavathi, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President G. Parameshwara and other party leaders, Gandhi inspected the canteen named after his grandmother and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Besides the one in Jayanagar, 100 other canteens will be opened on Wednesday for dinner, which will be served free of cost to everyone on the first day, the Chief Minister said in a statement, calling the launch a "historic day" for Karnataka.