Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy (PTI Photo)
Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Friday accused the Election Commission (EC) and Income Tax Department (ITD) of harassing him and his family on "mere suspicion". The EC officials have reportedly stopped and checked the Karnataka chief minister's vehicle 13 times in the last 20 days after the model code of conduct came into effect.
"Election Commission and Income Tax Department are literally harassing me and my family. Let the EC officials perform their duties, but don’t harass us on mere suspicion," news agency ANI quoted the Karnataka chief minister as saying.
On Thursday, Kumaraswamy's SUV was checked twice between Gokarna and Karwar while he was on his way to Karwar to attend the JD(S) candidate Anand Asnotikar's nomination filling.
"On Thursday, after I left having my breakfast, my vehicle was checked twice. What are they trying to prove?" the JD(S) asked. He also questioned the regular transfers of officials in the middle of the model code of conduct.
Kumaraswamy also blasted the Income Tax Department for conducting "politically motivated" raids on Congress and JD(S) workers. In pre-dawn raids on March 30, I-T sleuths had carried out coordinated searches at many locations across Bengaluru, Ramanagara, Kanakapura, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan and Shivamogga.
The state-wide raids, which were carried out days before the Lok Sabha elections triggered a backlash from the Congress and JD(S) leaders. They termed the raids a "shameful attempt" to threaten and generate fear among party workers.
Former Prime Minister and JDS chief HD Deve Gowda had even claimed that the BJP had tried to persuade his son HD Kumaraswamy, who runs the Karnataka government in alliance with the Congress, to form a government in the state with their help before the assembly elections.
"The BJP had requested Kumaraswamy to come to Mumbai before the election and promised to give big money for JDS electoral expenses. I was aware of this," Deve Gowda said. However, Kumaraswamy had rejected the BJP offer, the former prime minister said.