As the political discourse around the Hyderabad civic polls heats up, All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi on November 26 challenged the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to bring in Prime Minister Narendra Modi for campaigning in the old city of Hyderabad.
"You bring Narendra Modi to the old city and campaign here. We will see what happens. Organise his meeting here and we will see how many seats you will win here," ANI quoted Owaisi as saying.
The AIMIM supremo was speaking at a public gathering in Hyderabad. Owaisi's statement comes amidst the BJP bringing in top party leaders -including Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath - for campaigning during the elections.
"These are municipal elections, they will not talk about development… Hyderabad has become a developed city, many MNCs have been set up here, but the BJP wants to destroy it, by bringing down the brand name of Hyderabad," Owaisi said.
The senior BJP leaders are expected to arrive in Hyderabad over the next few days and campaign until November 29, reports suggest. Polling to elect a new 150-seat GHMC is scheduled for December 1.
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The Hyderabad civic polls have heated up in recent days. On November 24, for example, Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay promised a "surgical strike" against alleged illegal migrants in the Old City of Hyderabad. This drew sharp reactions, including one from Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) working president KTR Rama Rao, who wondered if he has "gone completely insane for few votes and seats".
To Sanjay's remark that the AIMIM and the TRS are "trying to win Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls with Rohingyas, Pakistani, and Afghanistani voters", Owaisi had challenged the BJP to share data on Pakistanis living in Hyderabad Old City.
Earlier, on November 23, BJP MP Tejasvi Surya had alleged that Owaisi and his brother Akbaruddin had not let Old Hyderabad develop.
"Laughable that Akabaruddin and Asaduddin Owaisi are speaking of development. They have not allowed development in old Hyderabad, the only thing they allowed is Rohingya Muslims. Every single vote to Owaisi is a vote against India and everything that India stands for," Surya had said.