Alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is harassing him, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday voiced the apprehension that he may be arrested. "They may also arrest me tomorrow or day after. Let them do. I will go to jail but I will not be cowed," the Telugu Desdam Party (TDP) chief told an election rally in Visakhapatnam on Friday night.
Hours after income tax officials raided the residence of his close aide and Rajya Sabha member C. M. Ramesh in Kadapa district, Naidu alleged that Modi was misusing central agencies to target the TDP leaders including the party candidates.
Earlier, condemning the series of raids on party leaders, Naidu along with his supporters staged a sit-in at Ambedkar statue in Vijayawada. He said Modi was isolating him for raising his voice against the injustice meted out to the state.
Addressing the rally at Visakhapatnam, Naidu said Modi was insulting the democracy by using Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation, Reserve Bank of India and now the Election Commission against the opposition.
Naidu reacted strongly to the Election Commission of India shunting out Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha. He said the poll panel was acting at the behest of Modi.
"The Election Commission first transferred a collector, then shunted out three IPS officials including Director General. Today they removed the Chief Secretary without giving any reason. It can't act in whatever way it likes. It should function in an impartial manner," he said.
Alleging that the transfers were aimed at helping the YSRCP, Naidu reiterated that Modi, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao and YSRCP chief Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy hatched a conspiracy against TDP.
Naidu said the Election Commission failed to act on the complaints against YSRCP that they misused Form 7 to delete seven lakh votes.
"I have seen many election commissions in my 40-year-long political career. There is a room for manipulating EVMs and 22 parties demanded counting of 50 percent slips in VVPATs but the Election Commission said this is not possible. The Commission which failed to do this transferred CS, DG, SPs to help YSRCP," he said.
Naidu was speaking hours after the Election Commission shunted out Chief Secretary Punetha for allegedly defying its order to transfer three top police officials.
The poll panel has appointed L.V. Subrahmanyam, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer of 1983 batch, as the new Chief Secretary.
Elections to 175-member state Assembly and all 25 Lok Sabha seats in the state are scheduled on April 11.