Karnataka I-T raid: KTR, Harish Rao barbs force Congress on the defensive

In response, Revanth, the only Congress leader to react to the allegations, vehemently denied any connection between the seized Rs 42 crore and the Congress.
Image used for representational purposes
Image used for representational purposes

HYDERABAD: The recent Income Tax raid in Bengaluru has ignited a fiery political debate in Telangana, with both the ruling BRS and the main contender for power in the State, the Congress, engaging in a war of words over the seized Rs 42 crore.

Ever since the seizure was reported, BRS leaders KT Rama Rao and Harish Rao have sought to corner the Congress, saying that the money was meant for the Telangana elections. They also alleged that the Congress planned to pump in Rs 1,500 crore from neighbouring Karnataka into the election to “buy votes” and secure victory. Harish Rao also claimed that while Rs 42 crore was seized, another Rs 8 crore had reached Kodangal, the constituency of TPCC chief A Revanth Reddy, just a day before the I-T raids.

In response, Revanth, the only Congress leader to react to the allegations, vehemently denied any connection between the seized Rs 42 crore and the Congress. He accused the BRS leaders of attempting to divert attention from the popularity of the Congress, stating that the grand old party is gaining support from the people, while the BRS leaders are concerned about losing power in the coming 45 days.

Meanwhile, the ongoing I-T raid issues are causing tension within Congress, as their impact on the elections is uncertain. To offset any adverse impact, Revanth has alleged that the BRS distributed huge amounts of cash and liquor in all previous byelections, whereas the Congress refrained from such practices. Citing the Munugode by-poll as an example, he said that Congress did not spend money or distribute liquor during the election. Revanth also accused the BRS of planning to pump in large sums of money and distribute vast quantities of liquor to retain power in Telangana.

The Congress is also taking the issue seriously, as the ruling BRS attempts to dent its image in Telangana. KT Rama Rao and Harish Rao alleged that the Karnataka government has forced the construction sector to raise prices to pay bribes which the Congress is using to fund its election campaign in Telangana. The BJP and JDS in Karnataka are also making similar allegations. To mitigate the damage to the party’s image, Congress general secretary KC Venugopal visited Bengaluru to address the I-T raid issue and the allegations made by opposition parties in Karnataka.

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