The Hyderabad crossfire
THE WEEK|December 06, 2020
Despite the AIMIM having no shot at ruling Hyderabad, the BJP has made it its prime rival. And, the TRS might be the real loser in this fight
RAHUL DEVULAPALLI
UNION INFORMATION and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar recently took part in the BJP’s high-octane campaign ahead of the Hyderabad civic polls. The Union minister campaigning in a municipal election raised a few eyebrows, but his speech revealed the BJP’s game plan. “Do you want a BJP mayor or an MIM mayor?” he asked. He went on to unveil a “charge-sheet”, a booklet outlining the alleged failures of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi government. Occupying significant space on the front page alongside TRS leaders was the image of Asaduddin Owaisi, Hyderabad MP and president of the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), also referred to as MIM.

Later, BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar participated in a meeting attended by non-Telugu speakers and migrants. “How did the MIM win five seats in Bihar?” he asked. “The Muslims voted for that party. Same way, it is a good opportunity for the Hindus to consolidate and vote for the BJP. We cannot let the MIM take control of the nation.” Sanjay, who has been leading the BJP campaign to rename Hyderabad as Bhagyanagar, courted controversy on November 24 when he said that if the BJP gets the mayor’s post it would conduct a “surgical strike on the old city and throw out Rohingyas and Pakistanis”.

The BJP’s strategy for the civic polls, scheduled for December 1, became even clearer when Bengaluru South MP and the party’s youth wing president Tejasvi Surya landed in the city. “We will not let Islamisation happen,” he said. “A vote for Owaisi is a vote against India.” He continued, now emotionally: “Asaduddin Owaisi and Akbaruddin Owaisi, listen to me. This is not Nizam’s rule but that of Narendra Modi.”

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