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BENGALURU : The Janata Dal (Secular) and the Congress party hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party-led centre for misusing the income tax department to target and intimidate the political opposition ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

The raids essentially uniting the coalition partners whose relations were stretched to its limits in recent weeks over the seat sharing and candidate selection.

"Since the BJP came to power, many constitutional institutions have been misused," Karnataka chief minister H.D.Kumaraswamy said while addressing leaders and workers from both parties who gathered in Bengaluru to protest against the raids.

Though the two parties are having a difficult time trying to convince their cadres to work together, Thursday's raids and the idea of the common enemy are helping a section of workers to unite.

Kumaraswamy even called the raids as Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "surgical strike" on the opposition.

He, even, naming B.R.Balakrishna, one of the seniormost officials of the I-T department in the state, called him a "puppet" in the hands of Narendra Modi government.

The Kumaraswamy government in the state strongly objected to the use of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and not the local law authorities for the I-T raids.

While JD(S) leaders claimed that their houses were raided, the I-T department hit back saying it had searched premises of contractors and connected persons and not of any legislators or parliamentarians.

"The CRPF were taken from the state itself," said one senior I-T official, requesting not to be named.

In a statement, the I-T department requested that its officials or activities not be “politicised, personalised or trivialised".

“In particular statements which sound like an incitement to physical violence issued by persons holding very responsible posts are deeply deplorable," the department said in the statement.

Kumaraswamy on Wednesday night had said that I-T department was gearing up for raids against coalition leaders and its supporters.

Several teams of the I-T department raided at least 27 premises, the official cited above said.

Both the BJP and Congress and other political outfits have cried victim when their premises were raided in the past.

The official cited above said that they raided the home of a contractor who happens to be a relative of minor irrigation minister C.S.Puttaraju and not the latter's home as alleged.

Former CM Siddaramaiah warned officials of consequences if they operate as puppets and not operate within the ambit of the law.

"As it have already told, the fight is between Democracy & Autocracy. C.S.Puttaraju another JD(S) leader and minister for minor irrigation said that his home in Mandya was raided.

IT raids on opposition leaders is nothing but an attempt to intimidate and demoralise supporters during election time.

“@BJP4India is the most coward party in the whole world. Shame on them!!," he wrote on Twitter earlier.

The raids come days after The Caravan magazine published an article which suggested that BJP state president B.S.Yeddyurappa had made payouts of around 1,800 crore to his national leaders during the formers term as CM from 2008 to 2011. The Congress had used this to target Yeddyurappa but Balakrishna confirmed to several media outlets that the diary used as the basis for the article was fake.

Balakrishna could not be reached for comment. 

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