Action against opposition parties: Congress protests against BJP in J&K

Jammu/Srinagar : The Congress on Monday held protests in Jammu and Kashmir against the BJP-led Centre over its alleged attempts to cripple the opposition parties ahead of the general elections.

The protest, outside the party headquarters in Jammu’s Shaheedi Chowk, was led Bharat Singh Solanki, the AICC’s Jammu and Kashmir in-charge; Manoj Yadav, the co-in-charge; and the Congress’ Jammu and Kashmir chief Vikar Rasool Wani.

Carrying placards and shouting slogans against the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to denounce the freezing of accounts and serving Income Tax notices on the Congress, and the arrest of opposition leaders such as Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, the protesters tried to march forward but were stopped by police.

“The BJP feels that the people have decided to vote it out this time and, therefore, has launched a campaign to curb the opposition parties. It froze the Congress’ accounts, served us notices (for Income Tax dues) worth over Rs 3,600 crore and arrested Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren,” Solanki told reporters.

“It is all being done at the directions of the central government to win the general elections,” he said.

Questioning the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax department’s actions against the opposition parties, Wani asked why the entire official machinery is being directed against the Congress and its alliance partners.

“They are not allowing us to fight the elections as our candidates are craving funds. The world used to give the example of India as the biggest democracy but Modi is working like a dictator and using all tactics to suppress the opposition,” he said.

Raman Bhalla, the Pradesh Congress Committee’s working president and its candidate from Jammu in the Lok Sabha elections, said the party will not be cowed by the Centre’s actions and win with the support of the people.

In Srinagar, Congress activists tried to march on the main road but were stopped by security personnel as the party had not been granted permission for holding the protest.

Congress leader Imtiyaz Ahmad told reporters in Srinagar, “The moves of the BJP government are against democratic norms. They are not freezing their own (BJP) accounts and are also not asking for any taxes. Only the opposition is being oppressed. The ED (Enforcement Directorate) raids are only against opposition leaders while not a single BJP leader has been raided.” The Congress had on Sunday said it received fresh notices from the Income Tax department, raising a tax demand of Rs 1,745 crore for the assessment years 2014-15 to 2016-17.

With this latest notice, the Income Tax department has raised a total demand of Rs 3,567 crore from the party, it had said.

On Friday, the party had said it received notices from the department, asking it to pay around Rs 1,823 crore. The tax authorities have already withdrawn Rs 135 crore from the party’s accounts for a tax demand relating to previous years.

The Income Tax department on Monday told the Supreme Court that it will not take any coercive action against the Congress over the tax demand notices in view of the Lok Sabha elections.