Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday staged a demonstration in front of the BR Ambedkar Statue in Tummalapalli Kalakshetram here against what he termed “the harassment of TDP leaders by the Centre” in the form of I-T raids on their houses and companies.

He alleged that the Modi government, in collusion with YSR Congress leader Jaganmohan Reddy, had been resorting to vindictive measures against Telugu Desam Party leaders.

Alleges harassment

As a mark of protest, the Chief Minister released black balloons with photos of Modi and Jagan. Later, addressing the gathering, he said the Modi government had been harassing TDP leaders through I-T raids. “We are demanding fulfilment of State bifurcation assurances, and the Modi government is misusing the agencies — the IT Department, the ED and others — only to harass Telugu Desam leaders. All institutions are being subverted,” he alleged.

Also read:Piyush Goyal challenges Chandrababu to a debate

He said BJP leaders like Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal were openly stating that Jagan would support the BJP. “Jagan, involved in so many criminal cases of corruption, is very dear to the BJP leaders, including the Prime Minister, who claim they are crusaders against corruption,” Naidu said, and added that leaders of all parties opposed to the BJP were being targeted.

He said that LK Advani, one of the most respected leaders in the country, had made a telling comment on the style of functioning of the Modi government. “As Advani remarked, it should be country first, party next and self last. But I don’t think the Prime Minister or the other BJP leaders would heed to Sri Advani,” he said.

‘Won’t succumb to pressure’

Naidu also advised I-T and other department officials not to yield to pressures being exerted on them. Naidu said the TDP will not succumb to such pressure tactics and will continue to fight for the rights of the State.

Also read:Jagan in a fix on special category status for AP

“Jaganmohan Reddy was mortgaging the interests of the State,” said Naidu. Senior CPI leader Suravaram Sudhakara Reddy also said here on Friday that the Modi government was being vindictive and conducting IT raids on the houses and companies of TDP leaders in the State. “It is most undemocratic and vengeful when the poll process is under way,” he said.

Income Tax searches on the premises of several TDP leaders have been going on in the State for the past one month or so.