Does the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) have reason to feel worried ahead of the municipal elections in Telangana after Akbaruddin Owaisi’s harping on his “15 minute” infamous comment of 2013?
“Why do they (RSS) hate Akbaruddin Owaisi? They have not yet recovered from my 15-minute blow,” bragged Akbaruddin Owaisi, the younger brother of Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi in Karimnagar. This was a reference to what he said in December 2013. Then Owaisi Jr had said, “We (Muslims) are 25 crore and they are 100 crore. Remove the police for just 15 minutes and see how the numbers turn out after that.”
Yes, the TRS should be concerned. Because the TRS and MIM are friendly parties in Telangana and unless the TRS distances itself from the inflammatory speech made by Owaisi Junior, it will be seen as an endorsement of what he said. It must be recalled that when Akbar made the comment in December 2013, he was imprisoned by the then Congress government headed by Kiran Kumar Reddy.
The TRS has reason to be worried also because Owaisi made this speech in Karimnagar. The same place where K Chandrasekhar Rao had taken on the BJP during a public meeting in April. He had said (loose translation from Telugu to English) : “These (self-proclaimed) Hindus are useless and disgusting. They want to stoke fire in the country and belong to the gutter.” KCR had also challenged the BJP leaders by pointing out that he too performed pujas and yagnas.
When TRS senior leader B Vinod lost the election to the BJP in Karimnagar, one of the reasons cited was the KCR speech which was perceived by people on the ground as anti-Hindu instead of being anti-BJP. In fact, acting on a complaint by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Election Commission issued a notice to KCR and said the speech violated EC guidelines.
The municipal elections in Telangana are round the corner and the BJP can be expected to milk the Owaisi comment to polarise the electorate. So far the TRS has banked on the Telangana sentiment to see it through. If the urban population of Telangana starts thinking in terms of religion before they cast their vote, it could create a problem for the TRS.
Categories: Political Pickle