The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is once again looking to rake up the issue of Telangana Liberation Day, this time to apparently draw political mileage in the ensuing bypoll to the Huzurabad Assembly constituency. With Union Home Minister Amit Shah set to address a public meeting on September 17 in Nirmal district, the saffron party will be making another attempt to cash in on the sensitive issue.
For several years, the BJP has been pushing the state government to officially celebrate Telangana Liberation Day. On September 17, 1948, the then Hyderabad state was merged with the Indian Union following India’s military action ‘Operation Polo’, popularly known as ‘police action’.
The public meeting to be addressed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah will be held at Veyi Udala Marri. It is said that Nizam’s ‘Razakars’ (volunteers) had allegedly killed 1,000 people fighting against Nizam’s government near a banyan tree at Udala Marri. The place later came to be known as Veyi Udala Marri.
Political analysts say that the BJP, which has been projecting itself as an alternative to the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), is looking to strengthen itself by raking up emotive issues. This will not be the first time that a Central minister will be addressing a public meeting to mark the day. In 2017, then Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had addressed a public meeting organized by the BJP in Nizamabad.
Addressing that public meeting, Singh had said that the 13-month period from August 15, 1947, to September 17, 1948, was a dark chapter in India’s history as the ruler of Hyderabad state committed repression on people, who wanted to merge with India.
He paid tributes to India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel for launching ‘police action’ to force the Nizam to merge Hyderabad state with the Indian Union.
In 2019, then BJP state chief K. Laxman had announced that Amit Shah would address a massive public meeting in Hyderabad on September 17 to mark Telangana Liberation Day. However, the last-minute cancellation of Shah’s visit had left the party’s state unit disappointed.
The Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Prahlad Joshi had unfurled the national flag at the BJP state headquarters in Hyderabad to mark the occasion.
Last year, the BJP had raised the issue during elections to Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC). While campaigning for the party, Amit Shah had said that his party wants to free Hyderabad from Nizam culture.
Shah said that it was because of Sardar Patel that Telangana, Marathwada, and Hyderabad became part of India. He alleged that there were some people who ran a campaign to merge these with Pakistan.
“(Asaduddin) Owaisi should respond as to who talked of merging Telangana with Pakistan,” he had said while reacting to MIM chief and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi’s allegation that the BJP was dividing people.
This year, the BJP is organizing the public meeting at Nirmal, which comes under the Adilabad Lok Sabha constituency held by the party.
Adilabad was one of the three Lok Sabha seats wrested by the BJP from the TRS in the 2019 elections. It also retained the Secunderabad constituency, thus winning four seats, its best-ever performance.