India

Surgical strike, Jinnah, biryani: Hyderabad civic polls campaign heats up

A week into campaigning for GHMC elections, the campaign pitch of parties has veered from “surgical strike on Old city”, “Owaisi-Jinnah” to even “beef and pork biryani’.

BJP state president and MP from Karimnagar, Bandi Sanjay Kumar, during a roadshow in the old city Tuesday said that his party would conduct a surgical strike in the old city to flush out Rohingyas and Pakistanis living there. “After a BJP candidate becomes Mayor, we will do a surgical strike on old city and chase out Rohingyas and Pakistanis,” he said, while adding that the TRS and AIMIM were trying to win the municipal polls with the illegal votes of Rohingyas, Pakistanis and Afghanistanis.

Bandi Sanjay had asked: “Do you want Bhagyanagar of Hindustan or Hyderabad like in Pakistan? Do you want patriotic BJP or deshdrohi like AIMIM and TRS?”

TRS working president and Municipal Administration minister KT Rama Rao, who is spearheading the ruling party’s campaign, hit back strongly saying the BJP MP had gone completely “insane for a few votes and seats”. In his tweet, Rama Rao tagged G Kishan Reddy, the Minister of State for Home, and asked whether ‘he would condone his colleague’s ‘reprehensible and hate-filled’ statement.’

“Do surgical strikes on poverty, corruption, and on those who commit crimes on women, not on Hyderabad. Today, for votes and seats they are spoiling the peace and harmony of Hyderabadis,” Rao told a gathering of supporters during his campaign.

In response to Rao’s tweet, Sanjay tweeted back saying a surgical strike on illegal intruders is mandatory. He added that a surgical strike will be conducted on the ‘corrupt, undemocratic, family rule’ of TRS party in Telangana.

AIMIM supremo and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi also hit back at Sanjay asking the BJP to come out with statistics to reveal how many Pakistanis were living in the old city. “I am giving you 24 hours to come out with figures to show how many Pakistanis live in the Old City since you say surgical strikes would be conducted to drive out the Rohingyas, Pakistanis and Afghans living illegally in Hyderabad,” he said. “Can BJP campaign for the GHMC till November 29 without using the words terrorists and Pakistanis?,” he asked.

Meanwhile, T Raja Singh, BJP’s MLA from Goshamahal, slammed Owaisi saying he should try some pork biryani. Owaisi had said that the BJP leaders and workers were frustrated and should try some biryani from a certain hotel, known for its beef dishes, in the old city. Singh, a staunch critic of Owaisi, retorted saying: “In my locality, the Valmiki community makes good biryani with pork. If you are fond of eating biryani, come I will offer a delicious biryani.”

Earlier in the day, speaking at Osmania University, BJYM national president and MP from Bengaluru South, Tejaswi Surya, said that a win in GHMC polls would be the beginning of saffronisation of the entire South India. “We will win GHMC polls and then the Assembly polls. We will win Tamil Nadu elections and also wrest Kerala. Entire South Indian will be saffronised,” he said.

A day before his visit to Osmania, he had drawn comparisons between Owaisi and Md Ali Jinnah. “If anti-national forces(AIMIM) are made stronger in one part of the country, they gradually spread their footprints to the other parts. It’s important that we contain these forces at the lowest level. There’s nothing more important than our country,” he said, calling the Hyderabad MP the “new avatar of Mohammed Ali Jinnah” and that his party would not allow any ‘islamisation’.

Elections are scheduled for 150 wards of GHMC council on December 1. As many as 1825 candidates are in the fray and more than 74 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise. In 2016 GHMC polls, the TRS had won 99 of the total 150 seats. The AIMIM secured 44 seats, leaving BJP with four, Congress with two, and TDP with just one seat.

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