Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a swipe at the BJP-led centre hours after income tax officials searched the properties of the son-in-law of DMK chief MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu.
The Congress and other parties including the Left in Kerala have been alleging that central agencies have been interfering in the democratic process indirectly by harassing leaders of the BJP's rival parties. They have questioned the timing of the searches by income tax officials amid election to the legislative assembly in four states and one Union Territory.
"Raiding the opposition is BJP's coping mechanism when facing electoral defeat," Mr Gandhi tweeted today.
Raiding the opposition is BJP's coping mechanism when facing electoral defeat.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 2, 2021
The searches at Mr Stalin's son-in-law's properties started around 8 am at four places in Chennai owned by Sabareesan and his associates. The DMK has complained to the Election Commission, calling it "abuse of power" by the income tax department.
Sabareesan is a key DMK strategist and adviser to Mr Stalin. The DMK chief said people would "give a clear verdict on April 6 for this miscalculation".
The Congress and DMK are fighting the Tamil Nadu election together, while the BJP had joined hands with the ruling AIADMK.
The searches in Tamil Nadu come a day after Mr Stalin's son Udhayanidhi, at a rally near Coimbatore, questioned what he called the exponential rise in the wealth of Home Minister Amit Shah's son Jay Shah.
Even in neighbouring Kerala too, Pinarayi Vijayan's government has been fighting a legal battle with the customs department over links to an alleged gold smuggling case.
Just before the election started, the customs department told the Kerala High Court that Swapna Suresh, an accused in the gold smuggling case, had made "shocking revelations" against the Chief Minister, the Speaker and some ministers in her statement before a magistrate. This claim was contested by the Kerala government as the centre's plan to discredit the Kerala government before the election.