People in Bengaluru, the capital city of Karnataka state, were witness to a never seen, never heard of incident on Thursday. The chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, along with his deputy and ministerial colleagues took to the streets to protest the raids, carried out by Income Tax officials, in some places state.
Kumaraswamy and his colleagues in the JDS-Congress government cried foul alleging political motives behind the raids, saying only the properties of those close to them were raided.
They asked, ‘Why now, just before Lok Sabha elections? Why raid those related to JDS and Congress only? Why none close to BJP is touched?”
Addressing their party workers they accused that the raids were happening at the behest of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who “is losing the elections”.
Chief minister Kumaraswamy even threatened to use the Anti-corruption Bureau (which works under the state government) to target the Central government and BJP leaders.
One may wonder why this unprecedented hue and cry over IT raids. If their supporters are clean with their account books, or have not stashed away unaccounted money, what was the trigger to hit the street?
The answer, perhaps, is in the following paragraphs.
According to reports, the Thursday’s raids targeted contractors who work on government tenders. The aim was to break certain cash supply chain used to bribe voters in the election.
What is this “cash-supply-chain”?
According to reports, money from the government exchequer was being transported in police protection every day and hoarded at certain places.
Thursday’s raids involved some contractors with links to Public Works Department (PWD), which enraged PWD minister HD Revanna. He said since his birth star is Swati, those who try to harm him would get destroyed.
Incidentally, PWD plays a huge part in this cash-supply chain, by virtue of huge budgetary allocations and the nature of public works involved. The modus operandi in the well-oiled cash transfer mechanism involves allotting tenders for fake and real works to contractors close to the power that be and releasing money for no work or incomplete work.
Later the money would be rerouted to politicians and distributed to party functionaries, who mobilise voters by bribing them in cash or kind and herd them to the polling booth on the D day. Sadly, this how sections of people still vote in the largest democracy of the world.