Hyderabad: With the Hyderabad Liberation Day on September 17 just a month away, there is a buzz of political speculation that the BJP government might be considering to carve out Hyderabad as a Union Territory to corner the TRS and the MIM.
Hyderabad-as-Union Territory was a demand made by all parties except the MIM during the statehood struggle. That never came to pass, and Hyderabad was made the joint capital of AP and TS.
The idea being propagated by BJP circles is that direct administration of Hyderabad by the Centre will help contain the MIM, a staunch rival of the BJP. Party leaders have alrea-dy ramped up the demand to take action against MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi and his brother Akbaruddin Owaisi.
Leaders from major political parties said that they are prepared for a showdown with the NDA government by launching a major public agitation if such a move on changing the status of Hyderabad were to come through.
The BJP state leadership has been claiming that it will celebrate Liberation Day officially and have home minister and BJP chief Amit Shah to hoist the National Flag in Hyderabad. The TRS has prevented the BJP from celebrating Liberation Day since the formation of the separate state.
Leaders of the Congress, the TRS and the MIM believe it is "not within the realm of possibility" that Hyderabad can be made a Union Territory. But they also admit that they cannot rule out the possibility after the BJP enforcing the revocation of Article 370 in J&K and its bifurcation and downgrade from statehood to UT.
The TRS is optimistic and believes that any such attempt by the BJP will only strengthen the ruling pink party. TRS leaders say that the BJP State leadership thinks it will get some political mileage by floating such speculation aimed at cornering and embarrassing the ruling party and government led by K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
Mr B. Vinod Kumar, politburo member of the TRS, said, "I don’t think the BJP will dare to attempt to make Hyderabad into a Union Territory, which will only strengthen the TRS and our president K. Chandrasekhar Rao."
He said that if there is any such attempt from the BJP, the people of the state will come out onto the roads in protest.
Congress leaders said there is no point even considering such a move, but post the abrogation of Article 370 they concede that there is a feeling that the BJP might do anything for political gains, which is why such fake news and rumours get traction, especially on social media.
Telangana PCC chief N. Uttam Kumar Reddy said, "making Hydera-bad a Union Territory is not possible and it is a mere rumour. I cannot comment on hypothetical questions."
MIM general secretary Ahmad Pasha Quadri said his party did not take cognisance of speculation of BJP making Hyderabad a Union Territory, reiterating that the MIM has opposed the idea since the beginning.
A senior leader of the MIM said that the party will launch an agitation if any such attempt is made. He said the people of the state will agitate and without Hyderabad, there was no meaning in getting a separate state of Telangana.
The BJP has been targeting the TRS right from the time the new state was formed on the issue of celebrating the Hyderabad Liberation Day, accusing it of not allowing the celebration because of pressure from its ally, the MIM.
It works for BJP that the talk of UT remains in salience in the lead-up to a possible confrontation with the TRS on the issue of Liberation Day. When asked if BJP was seriously considering the idea of making Hyderabad a UT to get at the TRS, a senior leader of the saffron party, instead of refuting it, said, "I cannot say at this point of time."