Hyderabad municipal polls: BJP targets CM Rao

Hyderabad municipal polls: BJP targets CM Rao, TRS-AIMIM affinity to consolidate its core base vote

BJP Telangana chief Bandi Sanjay branded Rao as a traitor and suggested that the intelligence agencies should keep an eye on his activities

TRS party chief and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao

The Telangana BJP launched its Hyderabad civic body polls campaign on Friday from the communally sensitive Charminar area, targeting Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and his political affinity with Asaduddin Owaisi's AIMIM.

In a controversial remark, BJP Telangana chief Bandi Sanjay branded Rao as a traitor and suggested that the intelligence agencies should keep an eye on his activities. The Karimnagar MP said that he suspects “Rao's connections with terrorists since he hobnobs with the AIMIM.”

TRS leaders like Energy Minister Jagadish Reddy objected to Bandi's remarks and warned of legal action.

Municipal administration minister K T Rama Rao reacted, tweeting, “Making baseless comments that the honourable CM has links to terrorist outfits is stooping to a new low and most reprehensible rhetoric.”

The BJP appears unperturbed. The party which could win only four out of the 150 Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation wards in 2016 is now bullish with the recent victory in Dubbaka. It has now set its sight on the Hyderabad polls to consolidate its strengths and target the 2023 Assembly elections in the state.

The BJP has been repeatedly referring to “the TRS-AIMIM political affinity” in its apparent attempt to unify the Hindu votes in the city.

Bandi had asked Rao to prove his Hindu credentials at the Bhagyalakshmi temple contiguous with the iconic Charminar in the old city area, close to the Mecca Masjid.

To prove their point, BJP leaders refer to the meeting between Hyderabad MP Owaisi and CM Rao, days ahead of the GHMC polls notification. TRS had won 99 and AIMIM 44 wards in the previous polls, which was seen as a friendly contest between the two parties.

On Thursday, Rama Rao clarified that “the AIMIM and TRS are not friends and there is no election alliance between the two.”

CM Rao's son who also holds the IT, investments portfolio, alleged that some forces are conspiring for communal disturbances in Hyderabad but the TRS government would not let the peaceful city's image suffer. “We will deal with the law and order disturbers with an iron hand,” he said while speaking to reporters.

The BJP on Friday received support from actor-turned-politician Pawan Kalyan, who earlier announced Janasena Party's foray into the GHMC elections. Kalyan said that JSP is withdrawing plans to field its candidates and would support the BJP wholeheartedly.