The comment by BJP MP Bandi Sanjay drew a strong rebuke from TRS working president KTR.

Bandi Sanjay Kumar speaking with his right hand raised JP Nadda and Sanjays photo is in the backgroundFile Photo
news Elections Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 20:16

Political discourse around the upcoming municipal elections in Hyderabad hit a new low on Tuesday, with the BJP Telangana state president and Member of Parliament Bandi Sanjay calling for a surgical strike in the Old City area of Hyderabad, which has a high Muslim population. The comment drew a sharp rebuke from the working president of TRS (Telangana Rashtra Samithi) KT Rama Rao, who wondered aloud on social media if the BJP leader has “gone completely insane for a few votes & seats”. 

The BJP leader was speaking at a political roadshow, while campaigning for the GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) elections. Speaking at the roadshow, he said, "Once a BJP candidate wins the Mayor post in these elections, there will be a surgical strike on patha basti (Old City). It’s the BJP’s responsibility to kick out these Rohingyas and filthy sons of Pakistan."

Surgical strike on Hyderabad?! Has this person gone completely insane for a few votes & seats!!@kishanreddybjp Garu, you are MoS for Home Affairs. Do you condone your colleague MP’s reprehensible, hate filled statements? #NoHatePolitics #HyderabadFirst https://t.co/Mhy9tr0j7f

Bandi Sanjay was referring to AIMIM (All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen) chief Asaduddin Owaisi’s remarks, questioning what Union Home Minister Amit Shah was doing if there were indeed thousands of Rohingyas in the electoral list. However, Owaisi himself wasn’t saying that there were “Rohingya voters”’ in the city, but was challenging the claims of BJP leaders who said so. 

The “surgical strike” remark by Bandi Sanjay was received by his party workers with loud cheers and applause. Bandi Sanjay went on to say, "Elections must happen without Rohingya and Pakistani peoples’ votes, without Afghanistani voters. For such elections to happen in Bhagyanagar, it is only possible through the BJP. Those who win through minority appeasement and Muslim votes are called secular. When BJP comes forward for 80% Hindus, to protect the sentiments of Hindus, BJP is called a religious party. Yes, BJP works for Hindu dharma.” 

The Old City of Hyderabad has a predominantly Muslim population and is considered a stronghold of the AIMIM. BJP has time and again accused the party of accommodating Rohingya refugees, helping them procure voter ID cards, Aadhaar and ration cards in exchange for their votes. The United Nations estimates an approximate population of 4000 to 5000 Rohingya refugees residing in Hyderabad.

Ever since the campaign for the GHMC elections has begun in the city, the BJP has targeted both the TRS and the AIMIM for their unofficial political alliance. Earlier in the week, Bandi Sanjay accused KCR of having links with terror outfits, as the TRS had unofficially allied with AIMIM. “As KCR has teamed up with MIM, we suspect he has terrorist links. Surveillance agencies must keep an eye on KCR's movements,” Bandi Sanjay had tweeted. The TRS has filed a complaint with the State Election Commission over the BJP leaders claims. 

Responding to Bandi Sanjay’s “surgical strike” comment, KTR, who is also the state Minister for Municipal Administration, said, “Some people are trying to divide and provoke people for gaining a few votes.  Everyone in Hyderabad must think about whether they want to let this happen. Till yesterday, he (Bandi Sanjay) was asking youngsters to not bother with traffic rules. Then he called KCR a traitor and said he has terrorist links. Now I don’t know why they’re acting so crazy for one election. They have said they will do a surgical strike in Hyderabad. It’s better to fall at people’s feet and beg for votes than stooping so low.” . 

KTR said the BJP is trying to disrupt peace in Hyderabad by bringing “Hindu-Muslim feeling”. “They want Hyderabad to suffer just so they can get a few votes,” KTR added. 

All 150 wards of Hyderabad will go to polls on December 1.

Watch: BJP MP Bandi Sanjay says there will be a 'surgical strike' on Hyderabad's Old City if BJP wins GHMC polls 

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