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BJP – AIMIM Row over “15 Seconds” Jab

BJP – AIMIM Row over “15 Seconds” Jab

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Manas Dasgupta

NEW DELHI, May 9: A row has erupted between the BJP and the AIMIM over an alleged provocative statement by the saffron party leader Navneet Rana in Hyderabad on Thursday that it would take only 15 seconds for the Hindus to show what they can do to Muslims.

Ms Rana’s outburst was in response to the equally provocative statement made some 12 years ago by the brother of the AIMIM chief and the party’s Lok Sabha candidate for the Hyderabad seat Asaduddin Owaisi.

Ms Rana, the BJP candidate for the Amravati seat in Maharashtra, was campaigning for her party candidate for the Hyderabad seat Madhavi Latha. Referring to AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi’s speech at Nirmal in Telangana in 2012, in which he said that if police is removed for 15 minutes his community would show 100 crore Hindus what it could do, Rana said, “Akbaruddin said remove police for 15 minutes so they can show what they can do… I say, it may take you 15 minutes but it will take us only 15 seconds.”

While Mr Akbaruddin Owaisi’s speech was seen as a direct threat to Hindus and had received widespread condemnation, Ms Rana’s’ comments was also seen to be equally shocking and in poor taste misfit for election rallies.

Ms Rana, a former independent MP from Amravati, referred to the 2013 swipe by Akbaruddin Owaisi, and said, “The younger brother said, ‘Remove police for 15 minutes so we can show what we can do’. I want to tell him, ‘It might take you 15 minutes… but it will only take us 15 seconds… ” In some other provocative comments, she was also heard saying Madhavi Latha will “definitely stop Hyderabad from turning into Pakistan” and claimed that anyone voting for either the Congress or the AIMIM would simply be voting in favour of Pakistan.

“If you vote for AIMIM and Congress, it goes directly to Pakistan. The kind of ‘AIMIM prem (love)’ and ‘Rahul prem’ Pakistan is showing… Just like Congress that governed country on signals from Pak… the same Pak is today saying they ‘love Congress and AIMIM’.”

A 39-second video clip of the rant by Ms Rana was posted on her X account, and the Owaisi brothers were tagged in the post. The older Owaisi, never one to back down from a fight, responded immediately and dared Ms Rana to follow through.

“I am telling Modi ji, give her 15 seconds. What will you do? Give her 15 seconds, give her one hour. We also want to see if you have any humanity left in you. Who is scared? We are all ready. If someone is making open calls like this, let it be so. PM is yours, RSS is yours, everything is yours. Do it. Who is stopping you? Tell us where we have to come, we will be there, do it,” Mr Owaisi said.

The face-off between Ms Rana (and Ms Latha) and Asaduddin Owaisi underlines the high-tension fight for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, which has been held by the AIMIM leader since 2004, and was the bastion of his father, Salahuddin Owaisi from 1984. The BJP has never won here; in 2019 the party fielded Bhagavanth Rao, who got less than 236,000 votes while Mr Owaisi polled over half a million and a 64 per cent of vote share.

Mr Owaisi has already had one ugly confrontation with his rival for this election. Last month, during Ram Navami rally in Hyderabad, Ms Madhavi Latha pretended to draw and fire an arrow while near a mosque. The gesture was widely condemned, with Mr Owaisi calling it “vulgar, obscene, and provocative.”

Ms Latha later posted a statement on X and professed to apologise, saying, “If anyone’s feelings are hurt.” However, she also claimed the video circulated was “incomplete.” She also had claimed of a “conspiracy against us (the BJP) … because we work well with both Hindu and Muslim brothers” and demanded “where did the mosque come from?”

The Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat has seven Assembly segments, of which six are held by the AIMIM. Chairperson of Virinchi Hospitals, Latha is taking on four-time MP Owaisi in what has evolved into a bitter and highly vitriolic campaign. Voting takes place on May 13, with other 16 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.



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