Karnataka

Will I-T raids soften Cong. attack on BJP?

Cong. will now find it difficult to attack saffron party on its leaders serving jail term

The Income Tax (I-T) searches and Enforcement Directorate (ED) probes into alleged money-laundering cases of the State Congress leaders are expected to act as a setback to the party in terms of its image, organisational strategy and aggression in attacking the State BJP.

There have been I-T raids on residences and institutions of nearly a dozen leaders and ED summons to appear before the agency for inquiries. Though party leaders have been calling these “targeted attacks” and “vendetta politics” of the Modi government and attempting to galvanise support on this plank, the implications are not easy for the Congress to handle.

With the arrest of former Minister D.K. Shivakumar and former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in the alleged money-laundering cases, the Congress is expected to soften its language of attacking the State BJP, particularly with regard to jail sentence and corruption jibes. These references were frequently made by former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah against Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and other leaders of the party during the 2018 poll campaign. Now, with the recent developments, the saffron party would not hesitate in naming “jailbirds” in the Congress if it levels charges against the BJP leaders.

Sources in the Congress believed that the arrest of Vokkaliga leader Mr. Shivakumar would surely weaken the party’s aggressiveness during the campaign, particularly during bypolls. Continued probes against Mr. Shivakumar and his family members and I-T raids on educational institutions of former Deputy Chief Minister and former KPCC president G. Parameshwara are expected to hit the financial resources of the party.

P.S. Jayaramu, retired professor of Political Science, Bangalore University, said “the continued custody of Mr. Shivakumar will affect the Congress in terms of weakening its election funding and organisational strategy. It has also dented his image significantly.”

As for the I-T raids on educational institutions managed by Mr. Parameshwara, Prof. Jayaramu noted that “it has given a serious setback to his personal image and may to some extent jolt the Dalit leadership. The impact of all this is likely to be felt on the byelection prospects of the Congress.”

Siddaramaiah grows strong

It is believed that a string of recent developments has strengthened senior leader Siddaramaiah’s leadership in the party. For one, senior leaders who used to challenge his decisions are now sidelined after their defeats in the 2019 general elections. At least two senior leaders — D.K. Shivakumar and G. Parameshwara — find themselves in a sticky situation with the I-T searches and ED probe. That the high command, despite other contenders, chose him as the Leader of the Opposition further proves this.

Now, with many groups in the party, it remains to be seen how Mr. Siddaramaiah would strengthen the party ahead of byelections scheduled on December 5.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 4:34:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/will-i-t-raids-soften-cong-attack-on-bjp/article29684253.ece

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