BJP call for ‘Telangana Liberation Day' kicks up a political storm, TRS attacks saffron party

The BJP wants the TRS to celebrate the day that Hyderabad state merged with India, after a military operation against the last Nizam.
BJP call for ‘Telangana Liberation Day' kicks up a political storm, TRS attacks saffron party
BJP call for ‘Telangana Liberation Day' kicks up a political storm, TRS attacks saffron party
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The decision by the Telangana unit of the BJP, and its state chief K Laxman, to celebrate 'Telangana Liberation Day' on September 17, has triggered a political row in the state.

On September 17, 1948, Hyderabad state merged with the Indian union following a military operation against the last Nizam of the state, Mir Osman Ali Khan.

The Nizam was a Muslim-ruler, who presided over a large Muslim population, and hired a private militia to defend Hyderabad state from the Indian forces.

K Laxman is presently on a 'Telangana Liberation Yatra' and has been putting political pressure on the ruling TRS government to celebrate the day officially.

The demand has been a long-standing one, even before Telangana was formed, with the TRS celebrating the day on a party-level in 2015.

Telangana and parts of the present-day Karnataka and Maharashtra were part of Hyderabad state. Successive governments in undivided Andhra Pradesh avoided official celebrations to mark the day for fear that it might trigger communal violence.

Many Muslim groups including the AIMIM have opposed these celebrations in the past, as they claim that Muslims were massacred disproportionately during the military operation.

Meanwhile, political observers say that the state government is reluctant to do so, as they feel that it would alienate their Muslim voters. 

Kicking off his tour, BJP's K Laxman told media persons, “The people of Telangana have had to go through various struggles. They expect the government to announce September 17 as T-Liberation Day, but they are upset by KCR’s gestures. The leaders, who argued for a united Andhra Pradesh, have been made ministers. This gesture is humiliating to the people of Telangana,"

On Monday, as he passed through Warangal city, the BJP leader continued to lash out at Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, saying, "He has not fulfilled a single promise. He even has problems with celebrating Liberation Day. We will continue our struggle till it is celebrated officially.”

Drawing flak for the party remaining silent, TRS leaders addressed media persons on Tuesday, and hit back against the national party.

"The BJP is attempting to create a communal divide and instigate violence through the yatra. They are insulting our party and our leaders, which is not acceptable to us," TRS MP Balka Suman said.

He was speaking to reporters along with Council Whip Bodakunti Venkateswarlu and MLC K. Srinivasa Reddy. State Animal Husbandry Minister Talasani Srinivas Yadav was also present.

"The BJP may be a 'big regional party' of North India, but they do not have any standing in the south. They do not seem to care for the south much. If they really cared, after they removed Bandaru Dattatreya from the Council of Ministers, they should have replaced him with someone from the TRS," Suman added.

He also asked the BJP leaders in the state to get national status to at least one major project that would benefit Telangana, or convince Prime Minister Narendra Modi to celebrate 'Telangana Formation Day' on June 2. Telangana was bifurcated from Andhra Pradesh on June 2, 2014.

“BJP national leadership is ignoring both Telugu states. There is no representation from both Telugu States inthe Central Cabinet which indicates that the BJP State leadership has lost credibility with their party high command,” Srinivas Yadav was quoted as saying.

 The BJP on the other hand, has not taken to the TRS' allegations of 'political opportunism' very kindly.

Speaking to TNM, BJP spokesperson Krishna Saagar Rao said, "The allegations by the TRS expose the utter political bankruptcy of the party, and these statements prove that. Prior to Telangana formation, KCR himself had demanded that September 17 has to be declared as Independence Day for the state. He had even gone to the extent of saying that the government should be brought down if it fails to do so."

 "The same individual today, does a U-turn just for minority vote bank politics, and attacks our leader. We are not shaken or stirred. We will continue the yatra, which will convene in Hyderabad on September 17. Over 2 to 3 lakh people are expected to attend, and our Union Home Minister will grace the occasion," he added.

When asked about the real intent of the yatra itself, Krishna Saagar Rao insisted that it wasn't a religious issue.

"We will expose the duplicity and hypocrisy of the TRS.  The key objective of the yatra is to boost the self-respect of Telangana people, who are suffering, despite the statehood being granted," he said.

He also went on to add, "There is no religious angle to this. Lot of Muslim leaders have fought against the Nizam and want to celebrate the fact that the Nizam had surrendered. Why should anybody have a problem with that? Why the assumption that Telangana Muslims are connected to a foreign ruler? This only exposes the stupidity of the TRS, and the low-level politics they practice."

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