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Searches by law enforcement agencies at the residences of P Chidambaram and Lalu Prasad showed the government's "nervousness" over the growing unity among opposition parties to field a joint candidate for the presidential poll, the Congress said today.
"Whenever the opposition coalesces together, it makes the government nervous," Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said and accused the BJP of trying to intimidate the opposition.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax (I-T) department had yesterday raided the residences and properties Chidambaram of the Congress and Lalu Prasad of the RJD respectively, in a multi-city crackdown on alleged corruption and benami properties.
Seeking to draw linkage between the ongoing discussions over a consensus presidential candidate and the raids yesterday, Tewari said, "Whatever action is taking place against opposition leaders is totally politically motivated."
"It is very simple. It is an attempt to intimidate the opposition," he said, pointing to the raids on Lalu Prasad who has played an important role in bringing together an anti-BJP coalition in the past.
The Congress leader said when the Narendra Modi government completes its three years in office on May 16, there is fear in its mind that that people will ask questions on its unfulfilled promises.
It has resorted to taking this action to divert the attention of the public, he added.
"Where there is politics which is taking place especially around the question of trying to get a consensus among the opposition on a candidate for the presidential election, a nervous government which does not believe in trying to fight a political strategy with an alternative political strategy then resorts to using the instrumentalities of the state to try and intimidate opposition leaders," he told reporters.
Tewari said the chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, had summed up the things very well when she met the Congress president.
She had said that the opposition leaders had been targeted primarily because the government either did not like them or their face.
The Congress leader recalled how Lalu Yadav had played a pivotal role in trying to bring together all the anti-BJP forces in 2004 when the first United Progressive Alliance was formed.
Tewari also accused the government of misusing its agencies to target its political opponents and termed yesterday's action by the CBI as a "command action".
"It is a command performance by investigative agencies which are at the beck and call of this government," he said.
Asked whether the Congress supported a second term for Pranab Mukherjee for the post of the president, the Congress leader said deliberations were on and that it would not be proper for him to make a comment.
"As far as I know, deliberations are on over what the opposition strategy should be on presidential election. When consultations are on such an important and sensitive issue, it will not be proper to make a comment on it. Once the talks are over, only then it is proper to comment on it," he said.
He refused to comment on the possibility of the government coming out with a consensus candidate for the president and whether it could be Mukherjee.
"The reality is, (Bihar Chief Minister) Nitish Kumar had also said that the government should take a lead on this," Tewari said on Mukherjee's candidature.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)