DMK slams Centre over 'income tax searches' at residence of party chief Stalin's daughter

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(Eds: Adds details) Vellore (TN), Apr 2 (PTI) The DMK on Friday lashed out at the Central government over 'searches' by income tax officials at the residence of party chief M K Stalin's daughter Senthamarai in Chennai and alleged it has a 'political objective.' Stalin said while he would face 'pressures,' cadres should continue to focus on field work to secure victory for the party in the April 6 Assembly polls.

In a statement, he cautioned partymen to not get diverted due to 'diversionary' action like raids or 'false propaganda' of the ruling AIADMK and its allies.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, saying 'raiding the opposition is BJP's coping mechanism when facing electoral defeat.' Addressing a poll campaign at Jayamkondam, Stalin said his party would not be frightened or worried by such searches.

'We will not be worried about it. Conduct more searches,' he said, adding his party would only be energised more by such raids. He said he would not be cowed down and he had faced even the Emergency period (1975-77).

The Centre thought of confining them to their homes through searches when polls are all set to be held in a matter of few days. Such tactics would not succeed with the DMK men, he said.

Party general secretary Duraimurugan said when parties were on the verge of completing the campaign and looked forward to the day of polling, the income tax searches at the residence of Senthamarai, daughter of his party chief Stalin was done with a 'political objective.' Income tax officials neither confirmed nor denied the searches. Reportedly, similar searches were on in respect of other candidates as well.

The Centre has made a 'wrong calculation' that raids just ahead of the election would shock Stalin, his family and the party and also weaken poll preparations, Duraimurugan claimed while speaking to reporters here.

'The DMK is not a party that can be scared by such searches,' he said, adding the party had already faced similar instances and it would not be deterred.

Only recently, tax searches were held in the premises linked to party leader A V Velu and now searches have been conducted in the residence of Senthamarai and the union government pursuing such a tactic was neither 'democratic' nor 'honest politics' and 'I condemn' this, he said.

Had the party been afraid of such raids, the party would have been 'dead' long ago and these only added to their determination and resoluteness, he added.

The Centre may have thought that Stalin would not be able to see his beloved daughter becoming sad, but the DMK president is the leader of 'lakhs and lakhs of party cadres' and he is a 'courageous lion,' he said.

When asked about searches in premises of party leaders belonging to AIADMK, an ally of the BJP and other parties as well, Duraimurugan said the tax raids vis-a-vis the DMK people were aimed at intimidating them while those in respect of others was only 'eye-wash'.

CPI (M) state secretary K Balakrishnan slammed the Centre, claiming that the search action was a diversionary tactic and would not yield any results. PTI VGN SS BN BN