Coalition partners close ranks to launch attack on ‘vendetta politics’ of Centre

Action and reaction: Congress workers protesting outside the Income Tax Department office in Bengaluru following raids at many places on Thursday, and (right) police detaining youths who tried to deface a signboard.

Action and reaction: Congress workers protesting outside the Income Tax Department office in Bengaluru following raids at many places on Thursday, and (right) police detaining youths who tried to deface a signboard.   | Photo Credit: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

Joint protest against I-T searches sees top leaders of JD(S) and Congress share the stage

Income Tax Department’s search and seizure operations since the early hours of Thursday on people associated with the Janata Dal (Secular) seemed to drown the trust deficit between the party and its coalition partner, the Congress, and brought them on a common stage in a big show of solidarity ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The joint protest outside the the department office here had Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, the former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara, Water Resources Minister D.K. Shivakumar, and KPCC president Dinesh Gundu Rao share the stage.

This was a day after Mr. Kumaraswamy anticipated the raids and threatened to hold a protest on the lines of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Addressing the protesters, leaders of both the parties described it as a “black day” that forced the the Chief Minister of the State to take to the streets to “defend federalism and democracy” against a Union government organisation that was being used for “political vendetta” in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.

In 2002, the former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna had taken such a public action over the Cauvery water issue.

Mr. Kumaraswamy termed “targeted I-T action” on Opposition parties during elections as being “instigated by the BJP” which was anti-democratic, and said it was an attack on the federal structure. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi seems to be moving towards dictatorship, subverting all institutions and overturning the constitutional framework,” he said. “The misuse of Central agencies to create an environment of fear by the BJP is setting the State on a collision course with the Centre. For instance, the I-T Department brought in CRPF personnel during the raids instead of using the State police as is the norm,” he said.

Mr. Siddaramaiah said the I-T Department was on a similar spree against Congress workers during the 2018 Assembly elections. “I-T officials are acting as BJP agents. Bureaucrats must think and act impartially,” he said. He said Mr. Modi was living in a fool’s paradise as he seemed to think power was permanent.

Dr. Parameshwara argued that complaints against leaders of the BJP had gone un-investigated.

“The Congress has lodged complaints over the BJP’s attempts to poach MLAs. There are tapes with BJP State chief B.S. Yeddyurappa offering several crores to MLAs to defect. None of them has been probed,” alleged Mr. Rao.

Mr. Shivakumar, who is facing multiple prosecutions launched by the department, said though he wanted to disclose many issues he was restraining himself as the cases were pending before the courts. “The names of leaders that came out recently are not lies. It’s an open secret,” he said, indicating names revealed in the alleged “Yeddyurappa diary”, copies of which were recovered from his residence during an I-T search in 2017.

‘Did Modi launch ASAT missile?’

Mr. Kumaraswamy came down heavily on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the nation on Wednesday over the successful test of ASAT missile. “Scientists have worked hard and developed this technology, despite any party being in power. The Prime Minister must be ashamed to hog credit for decades of hard work by scientists. Did Mr. Modi go and launch the missile?” he said, and added that the address to the nation was a clear violation of the model code of conduct, and the Election Commission not acting on it was a disturbing sign.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 1:42:58 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/coalition-partners-close-ranks-to-launch-attack-on-vendetta-politics-of-centre/article26667678.ece

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