New Delhi: As part of its strategy to gain a foothold in Telangana, the Bharatiya Janata Party has drawn up an elaborate plan to celebrate 17 September — the day when the princely state of Hyderabad became a part of the Indian Union — as ‘Hyderabad Mukti Divas’.
The BJP has decided to hoist the Indian flag in nearly 33,000 booths across Telangana on that day. A public rally has also been planned and Union Home Minister Amit Shah is scheduled to address it. This will be Shah’s first big public rally, to be held either in Hyderabad or Nizamabad, after the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.
BJP working president J.P. Nadda is also likely to attend the rally.
“The entire country got its independence on 15 August 1947, but Hyderabad was liberated only on 17 September 1948 after its integration with the Union of India. That is why we will celebrate this day with full enthusiasm. The national flag will be hoisted at every booth and the entire state will witness a grand celebration,” BJP’s Telangana president K. Laxman told ThePrint.
As part of the celebration, a tableau and an exhibition based on the story of Hyderabad’s merger with India, will be organised in Delhi’s Constitution Club on 10 September.
Demand to declare 17 Sept as Hyderabad Mukti Divas
Telangana BJP general secretary Srinibhaslu told ThePrint that a programme will be organised on that day to pay tribute to the ‘martyrs’ who laid down their lives for Hyderabad’s integration.
“We have requested BJP national president (Amit Shah) to participate in this programme,” he said.
The BJP has been demanding that the Telangana government led by Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao declare 17 September as ‘Hyderabad Mukti Divas’. But the government is opposed to the idea.
“So we have met the union home minister and put forward our demand. This time, we are not just celebrating the day as ‘Hyderabad Mukti Divas’, but also as ‘Telangana Mukti Divas’,” Laxman said.
Independent India’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel had formulated a strategy to merge Hyderabad — the largest and the richest princely state — with the Indian Union.
On 13 September 1948, the Indian Army started marching towards Hyderabad and after four days of bloodbath, the Nizam of Hyderabad finally surrendered.
By rekindling the story of Hyderabad’s integration with India, the BJP wants to score political points and portray Asaduddin Owaisi’s All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) as a sympathiser of ‘Razakars’.
Razakars were a private army of Kasim Rizvi, who headed the AIMIM in 1947. Rizvi was against Hyderabad’s merger with India and his army had fought against Indian forces to prevent the integration.
During a public meeting in April, Shah had even compared the AIMIM to ‘Razakars’.
The Telangana government and the AIMIM have been opposing the idea of celebrating 17 September as ‘Hyderabad Mukti Divas’ as they don’t want to upset the 12 per cent Muslim population in the state.
State BJP leader Vellishrivardhan Reddy said the party has demanded that the state government include the history of ‘Razakars’ in school textbooks.
In this Lok Sabha election, the BJP won four out of 17 seats in the state with 19 per cent vote share. Emboldened by this, the party is now looking to gain a strong foothold in Telangana.
This is also the reason why Shah has decided to visit Telangana every month until 2023, the year when the state elections will be held. He had even initiated the BJP’s membership drive from Telangana on 6 July.
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