A day after a Karnataka minister said the BJP would “definitely not give tickets (to contest elections) to Muslims”, AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi hit back, labelling the remark “disgusting and shameful, but not surprising”. He said such an ideology was incompatible with the Constitution.
“Disgusting and shameful, but not surprising. Hindutva believes only 1 community has the right to political power and all others are subservient. This ideology cannot co-exist with our Constitution, which talks about liberty, fraternity, equality and justice,” Mr Owaisi tweeted Monday afternoon.
Earlier KS Eshwarappa, Karnataka’s Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, said the BJP would give tickets to Hindus but not Muslims.
Mr Owaisi has found himself and his party in the crosshairs in recent days in the run up to Tuesday’s Hyderabad municipal election. Essentially a mayoral race, it has emerged as a high-stakes battleground for the BJP, which called in the big guns to help it campaign.
On Sunday – the final day of campaigning – Home Minister Amit Shah held a roadshow and said the BJP would “rid Hyderabad of Nawab-Nizam culture“. Yogi Adityanath, at the Old City – widely seen as a stronghold of Mr Owaisi -, said the BJP would would rename the city as Bhagyanagar.
Karnataka MP Tejasvi Surya and Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay have referred to Mr Owaisi as “Jinnah” and threatened a “surgical strike to flush out Rohingyas and Pakistanis”.
The BJP, which claims an “unholy alliance” between the ruling TRS and the AIMIM, has also accused them of banking on votes from “Rohingya and Pakistani infiltrators”.
Mr Owaisi, though, has not taken these hits lying down.
On Saturday, at a public rally of his own, he taunted the BJP for deploying such senior figures for a local election. “Now only Donald Trump is left to campaign…” he said.
Boosted by its victory in an Assembly bypoll for the Dubbaka seat earlier this month, the BJP has targeted this election as a chance to carve out a space for itself in the southern state.
In 2016 the party claimed just four of 150 seats as Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s TRS swept 99. A strong result in Hyderabad now will help press its case in Tamil Nadu, where Assembly elections are due early next year.
Results for the 150 wards will be declared December 4.
With input from ANI