Indira Canteen or Amma Canteen: Rahul Gandhi’s faux pas moment

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BENGALURU: Rahul Gandhi on August 16 inaugurated the Karnataka government’s Indira Canteen program here. Promising hygienic meals at affordable rates, the Congress vice president made a short speech congratulating the state government but had several faux pas moments – the most noticeable was calling the ‘Indira Canteen’ as the ‘Amma Canteen’.
In what was his second visit to the state in under a week, Rahul Gandhi commended the Siddaramaiah government for reaching out to the poor and downtrodden with the affordable food at canteens program – named after his grandmother and India’s first and only woman Prime Minister. But the 47-year-old floundered when – in a part of his speech – termed the program as Amma Canteen. “Every citizen of Karnataka, under the Siddaramaiah government should feel he won’t go hungry. That is the vision of the Amma…Indira Canteen.” he said.
Amma Canteens were started in Tamil Nadu by the state’s former Chief Minister and former AIADMK head J. Jayalalithaa.
While Rahul Gandhi did immediately correct himself, his entire speech was ridden with several similar errors. “The Chief Minister has mentioned to me that Bangalore is just the beginning. Soon, over the next couple of months, every single city in Bangalore, every single poor person in every single city in Bangalore will feel that in the state of Karnataka, under Siddaramaiah government, ‘I simply cannot go hungry” he said. Bengaluru is the capital city of the state.
He also twice almost referred to the canteens as campaigns before correcting himself.
Nonetheless, he did outline that while breakfast would cost Rs 5, lunch and dinner would be served at Indira Canteen for Rs 10. “It is our intention that the quality of food, the cleanliness in this canteen is the same as the most expensive restaurants in Bangalore.”
Nonetheless, the canteens are being projected as a major outreach by the Congress government in the state even though many have opposed it. Residents’ welfare associations (RWA) in Domlur, Sarakki and Jayanagar opposed the setting up of the canteens as they would cut into public spaces. In Domlur, residents protested plans to set up an Indira Canteen in a park, and BBMP moved it to a temple. In Banashakari, BBMP faced problems as the temple authorities and public opposed the canteen coming up next to the temple. In Murphy Town in East Bengaluru, the canteen was set up in a heritage building. RWAs in Jayanagar have expressed concerns about handling of food waste and littering from the canteens.

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