Deviating from his hectic electioneering, Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) national president N. Chandrababu Naidu staged a protest at the Ambedkar Statue here on Friday to draw the attention of the nation to the income-tax raids on party leaders across the State.
After squatting on the road for a while, Mr. Naidu released black balloons into the air and submitted a memorandum to the statue.
The series of “selective searches” on senior TDP senior leaders — TTD chairman Putta Sudhakar Yadav, Y. S. Chowdary, C. M.Ramesh and others, ahead of the elections set the tone for the sit-in by Mr. Naidu.
“ The searches and raids are being conducted only to demoralise the TDP. The Centre is undermining democracy. So, we thought the statue of the chief architect of the Indian Constitution is the appropriate venue to launch protest,” he said.
Mr. Naidu alleged that all democratic institutions were under threat and it was a serious matter that made him lead the protest instead of addressing a scheduled election meeting. The TDP would resist all attempts made to undermine democracy, “no matter how much they (Modi government) threaten us.”
‘Fight will continue’
The TDP would continue its fight for the State’s rights and get the Special Category Status (SCS), he asserted.
Raids were conducted in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Delhi before the elections but they boomeranged on the BJP. BSP chief Mayawati and SP leader Akhilesh Yadav were similarly targeted in Uttar Pradesh but the BJP could not escape defeat in Gorakhpur. Now, they were targeting the TDP. The downfall of the BJP had begun, he said.
Mr. Naidu said, “Tomorrow, this government (NDA government) will not be there. Those who resorted to false raids will be held accountable. We will not let you (I-T officials) go scot free, remember.”
Referring to BJP leader L.K. Advani’s remarks, Mr. Naidu said, “For Mr. Modi, power comes first and the country comes last. Such people should be taught a lesson.”