The present plight of the Election Commission is a warning of how the Narendra Modi government has been weakening the independence and credibility of various institutions, the CPI-M has said.
"The Modi government has enlisted one more government agency illegally to serve its partisan political purpose during the elections," an editorial in the CPI-M journal "People's Democracy" said.
"The Income Tax department has been unleashed on opposition political parties and their leaders."
It said the last fortnight had seen a series of raids by IT authorities on leaders of political parties, Ministers in non-BJP state governments, businessmen associated with these parties and key aides of Chief Ministers and Ministers in non-BJP state governments.
"In an electoral system which is enveloped by the deployment of vast amounts of money by candidates and parties, it is no one's argument that the use of illegal money should not be curbed. But it is the Election Commission which is tasked with this job," it said.
"The election machinery under the Commission has been trying, though inadequately, to check the flow of cash for elections. It conducts searches and seizes unaccounted money in cash and hands them over to the IT authorities for further investigation.
"But the Modi government, bypassing the Election Commission, has deployed the IT department and the Central Board of Direct Taxes to selectively target political parties fighting the BJP in the elections.
"The IT authorities seem to find only non-BJP political leaders and Ministers to target for suspected unaccounted money. So far not a single leader or business supporter of the BJP nor its allies have been subjected to raids during the election process," the editorial said.
It said that the raids serve a two-fold purpose - to dry up the money flow for the election purposes of these parties and opposition candidates and to tar them with the brush of being corrupt and tax evaders.
In contrast, it burnishes the image of Modi as a corruption-buster.
( 338 Words)