Ahead of election year, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah introduced Indira Canteens.

What Is the Election Charcha in Indira Canteens in Karnataka?

A group of boys in red T-shirts rushed to the counter as soon as the sound of a bag of Rs 5 coins clanking the metal railing is heard. Grabbing the coupons, they rushed to stand in the long line, craning their necks to count how many people are in front. Steaming fluffy idlis – or rice cakes – are put on a steel plate and slid to the next vendor. The man behind the counter pours tomato chutney, and the boys begin to dig in.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah’s initiative of ‘Indira Canteens’ – offering meals for as low as Rs 5 and Rs 10 – has been a blessing for the working class.

Just ahead of the election year, the Siddaramaiah government in 2017 announced setting up Indira Canteens in all corporation wards of Bengaluru.

But ‘Appaji Canteens’ – the brainchild of the JD(S) – have stolen the thunder of Congress’ canteens. These were designed on the lines of 'Amma Canteens' of Tamil Nadu, which sell subsidised food.

The Quint spoke to some of the regulars at the Indira Canteens in prominent locations in Bengaluru to ask them what’s cooking this election season.

Flyovers, better infrastructure to support the increasing traffic, proper garbage management, and job security were the key demands put forth by the people.

“The leaders claim there are good roads and that they manage garbage well. Earlier, there used to be segregation of wet and dry garbage. Nowadays, they don’t even follow that. They make these claims just before the elections. After voting day, everything is forgotten,” said 22-year old Vanita.

The government should not be partial to some communities. Everyone should be equal. The government shouldn’t talk about religion. We don’t need it. But today, the governments are running based on caste and religion. We don’t need that.
Ramesh, resident, Bengaluru

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