New Delhi: Slamming the Centre over the ED’s action against its leaders in poll-bound Rajasthan, the Congress on Thursday alleged that faced with the prospect of ‘certain defeat’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has resorted to tactics of ‘FDI — fear, deception and intimidation’.
The party said people would give a befitting reply to the BJP for resorting to such tactics.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided the premises of Rajasthan Congress president Govind Singh Dotasra and party candidate from the Mahua assembly seat as part of a money laundering investigation into the alleged exam paper leak case in the state, official sources said. It also summoned Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot’s son Vaibhav Gehlot for questioning in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case. Several Congress leaders, including party president Mallikarjun Kharge, spoke out on the matter.
Kharge alleged that agencies such as the ED, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax Department become the real ‘panna pramukh’ (party workers) of the BJP as soon as elections come.
‘Seeing its certain defeat in Rajasthan, the Bharatiya Janata Party made its last throw of the dice! After Chhattisgarh, the ED has also entered the election campaign in Rajasthan and started action against Congress leaders,’ Kharge said.
‘The dictatorship of the Modi government is fatal for democracy. We will continue to fight against the misuse of agencies, and the public will give a befitting reply to the BJP,’ the Congress chief said in a post on X.
Ashok Gehlot said that the Congress launched ‘guarantees’ (poll promises) for women of Rajasthan on Wednesday and the ED’s action against Dotasra and Vaibhav Gehlot came just a day later. ‘Now you can understand what I have been saying… ED’s raids happen everyday in Rajasthan because the BJP does not want women, farmers and poor in the state to get the benefit of the guarantees given by Congress,’ Gehlot said in a post in Hindi on X.
Elections for the 200-member Rajasthan Assembly will be held on November 25 and results be declared on December 3.
In a post on X, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh claimed that the prime minister has been taken aback by the popularity of the schemes of the Congress government in Rajasthan over the last five years. ‘Faced with the prospect of certain defeat, the Prime Minister has resorted to his usual FDI tactics — Fear, Deception and Intimidation, and has unleashed the ED on Congress leaders in the state,’ he said. ‘This sort of vendetta politics and the politics of polarisation is all that the BJP stands for today. The people of Rajasthan will give a befitting reply to the Prime Minister and his party in the forthcoming elections,’ Ramesh said.
Former Rajasthan deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot alleged that the ED’s action against Congress leaders was ‘politically motivated’ and an indication that the BJP is trailing in all five poll-bound states.
Addressing a press conference at the AICC headquarters here, Pilot said, ‘Elections are set to take place in Rajasthan in a few days from now and the Model Code of Conduct is in place but the timing, intent and objective of the government of India agencies’ action in various places in Rajasthan is suspicious.’ The Congress is against corruption and in favour of action being taken if there is an impartial inquiry and any evidence is found, but the government is specifically targeting leaders without any facts seeing an ‘imminent defeat’ of the BJP in the upcoming polls in Rajasthan, Pilot said. ‘This is to give a message that if the BJP becomes weaker politically it will misuse various agencies and intimidate people. The Congress opposes this…The BJP is trailing in all five states and today’s action is a clear indication of that,’ he said.
Slamming the ED’s action, Ashok Gehlot at a press conference in Jaipur said the BJP is unleashing ‘terror’ in the country.
He also said the ED swung into action after he announced two poll promises on Wednesday for women of the state. He said that five more promises are also going to be declared on Friday and dared the ED to find five more Congress leaders to take action. The chief minister also likened the ED action to locust attack and said the ED raids would destroy BJP’s crops .
Ashok Gehlot claimed that ED’s raids happen wherever elections are held. Be it Chhattisgarh, Karnataka or Himachal Pradesh, ED’s raids happened just before elections, the chief minister said.
‘Raids happened but the Congress won the elections. The situation is worrisome. They have unleashed terror in the country,’ Gehlot said at the presser.
Asserting that the Congress ‘will not be scared no matter how hard they try’, he alleged the BJP was targeting him through ED raids as they could not topple his government.
‘We will win the elections,’ the chief minister asserted.
Congress’ media and publicity department head Pawan Khera also lashed out at the Union government over the ED’s action.
‘Just last week, Ashok Gehlot ji held a press conference in Delhi and raised questions on the role of central agencies in the elections. Today again, ED has become very active in Rajasthan. Modi ji, contest elections directly, stop taking the help of agencies,’ Khera said in a post in Hindi on X.
Ashok Gehlot last week alleged that the BJP-led Centre is misusing probe agencies to target opposition leaders even after the enforcement of the model code of conduct, and urged PM Modi and the Election Commission to intervene.
(Published 27 October 2023, 02:19 IST)