Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar on Saturday alleged that the Congress launched the 'PayCM' campaign targeting Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai because the party cannot tolerate a Chief Minster from the major Lingayat community.
But, Mr Bommai distanced himself from a discussion.
"I am not a party to that statement and will not comment," Mr Bommai said in Chitradurga.
Speaking to reporters in Bengaluru, Mr Sudhakar said, "Whoever gives good governance, especially if there are strong Lingayat chief ministers, they (Congress) drag them out. People of the State are taking note of it." "Congress has always done that. They always target major community. This is not the first time. They did not spare Kengal Hanumanthaiah. Whom did they spare? Whoever is the Chief Minister from the major community, this is their constant approach," the Minister added.
According to him, the Mr Bommai-led Bharatiya Janata Party government is providing a clean administration. In the last 14 months, people believe him as a people's chief minister. He is giving a good governance, which Congress leaders are not able to tolerate, he charged.
Dr K Sudhakar said the PayCM campaign shows the desperation of the Congress to come back to power. The Opposition party has sealed whatever little chances it had in Karnataka.
The Minister recalled how actor Akhil Iyer took objection to the use of his photograph without his permission in the campaign, citing the actor's tweet where he warned Congress of legal action.
"You would have seen yesterday (Friday), they did the campaign in the name of actor Akhil Iyer. What did he say yesterday? He said without his knowledge or seeking his permission his photo was used. He said he will take legal action. It is obvious how malafide this smear campaign is," he charged.
Alleging that the PayCM was filled with malafide political intent, Sudhakar sought to know: "Are these Congress leaders 'Satya Harishchandra?' How many of these have returned from jail and how many are out on bail? Aren't they ashamed of talking politics and corruption? He said the top Congress leaders in Karnataka, who are talking about corruption are out on bail.
Mr Sudhakar said the party has no moral right to speak on corruption because it lost power due to maladministration.
The Congress launched the PayCM campaign, putting out posters in public places with a QR code with a visible image of Mr Bommai in the middle. Upon scanning, the QR Code redirects to a website 40percentsarkara.com launched by the Congress 10 days ago.
When the general Assembly elections are just eight months away, the party launched the campaign accusing the Bommai government of indulging in corruption.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)