Haveri (Karnataka): Hours after the deadline for campaigning for Karnataka Assembly by-polls ended on Tuesday (December 3), the officials of the Income Tax department and excise department carried out joint raids at Ranebennur Congress candidate KB Koliwad’s residence in Haveri district. This drew a lot of flak from the party workers.

According to reports, the search which took place on Tuesday night went on for a few hours. On learning about the raid, the Congress party workers and Koliwad’s supporters rushed to his residence and staged a protest accusing Karnataka home minister Basavaraj Bommai and the BJP of indulging in vendetta politics.  

“The searches took place on Tuesday night at the Ranebennur residence of the former assembly speaker, following complaints of stacking up liquor and cash of Rs 10 crore. We couldn’t find anything,” I-T officials said.

Koliwad reacted to the raid and said the I-T officials returned empty-handed after the search. He termed it an act of political vengeance and desperation by those in power. 

"They raided my residence based on complaints filed by the BJP. They found nothing. These intimidating tactics won't work. This raid has strengthened me further. And because of this raid I feel people's sympathy will be with me. I will get 10,000 more votes,” he said.

As many as 17 Karnataka MLAs from both the Congress and JD(S) bid goodbye to their parties and tendered their resignation to the former Speaker Ramesh Kumar. While the coalition government toppled as it did not prove its majority on the floor of the house, the BJP gathered the required numbers and formed the government, with Yediyurappa as the chief minister.

By-polls will be held on December 5 in 15 constituencies of Karnataka. The results will be declared on December 9.