Hyderabad set for big political action on Sep 17, accession anniversary

Hyderabad set for big political action on Sep 17, accession anniversary. — IANS

Hyderabad, Sep 13 (IANS) Hyderabad is all set to witness big political action on September 17 with all the major political parties looking to get into election mode on a day which marks the anniversary of the accession of erstwhile Hyderabad State to India.

Telangana capital will turn into a political theater with all the parties celebrating the day in tune with their ideologies.

The occasion has always been a sensitive issue in the region as it evokes different emotions among different political groups.

With Assembly elections only a couple of months away, this year the occasion has assumed more significance.

With its eyes on the polls, the BJP is looking to capitalise on the sensitive issue by celebrating it as Telangana Liberation Day while ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) will be trying to counter the saffron party by celebrating National Integration Day.

For the second year in a row, the government of India will be organising the official programme in Hyderabad to mark the occasion. Like last year, Union Home Minister Amit Shah will review a parade by the armed forces at Parade Grounds, Secunderabad.

Led by Minister for Tourism and Culture G. Kishan Reddy, the state BJP is making every effort to politically cash in on the event.

Last year, the Centre had organised the celebrations on a grand scale to mark 75 years of the accession of erstwhile Hyderabad State with the Indian Union.

After hoisting the national flag, Amit Shah reviewed the parade. The event was also attended by Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Karnataka’s transport minister B. Sriramulu.

Hyderabad State, which comprised Telangana and parts of present day Maharashtra and Karnataka, acceded to India on September 17, 1948, about 13 months after India gained independence. This followed an Indian military operation codenamed Operation Polo against the Nizam’s Army.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao was also invited for the programme last year. He stayed away but hoisted the national flag at a separate programme organised by the state government, which celebrated the occasion as Telangana National Integration Day.

This marked a departure from the past as successive governments in undivided Andhra Pradesh never organised official celebrations to avoid any controversy. However, the ruling and opposition parties barring BJP have been celebrating September 17 at the party level as Telangana Merger Day or Integration Day.

The saffron party has been celebrating it as Telangana Liberation Day and demanding the governments to organise official celebrations.

Addressing the parade last year, Amit Shah had said that some political parties feel ashamed to call September 17 Hyderabad Liberation Day  as they still have fear of Razakars in their mind.

He asked these parties to remove the fear from their minds saying Razakars can’t take decisions in this country which became independent 75 years ago.

Razakars were supporters of Hyderabad State’s ruler Nizam and wanted the state to remain independent.

Political observers say by celebrating September 17 as National Integration Day, KCR has taken fizz out of a sustained campaign by BJP to politically exploit the issue.

He announced three three-day celebrations to counter BJP’s Telangana Liberation Day.

For the first time since Telangana came into existence, the day witnessed official celebrations with the chief minister hoisting the national flag.

Like the previous governments of Congress and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) in undivided Andhra Pradesh, the TRS (now BRS) government in Telangana had rejected demands for officially celebrating the day in view of the reservations by Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) and other Muslim groups, who say that Muslims were massacred during ‘police action’, as the Operation Polo was popularly called.

These parties have been celebrating it as ‘Telangana Merger Day’ by hoisting the national flag and paying tributes to the freedom fighters.

Being an emotive issue with the potential of communal polarization, the BJP has been aggressively pushing for official celebrations. At every public meeting, Amit Shah and other central leaders of BJP had been attacking KCR for not celebrating September 17 officially due to ‘fear’ of MIM.

As the BJP was going aggressively to exploit the issue for electoral gains, KCR came out with a strategy to counter it.

Though the saffron party claimed that it forced KCR to organise the official celebrations, KCR’s emphasis on national integration is seen as an attempt to send a message of unity in the face of divisive politics of BJP.

Interestingly, the State Cabinet’s decision last year came a couple of hours after MIM, a friendly party of BRS, demanded that September 17 be celebrated as national integration day. AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaiis wrote to both Amit Shah CM KCR, suggesting that September 17 be celebrated as national integration day.

For the first time in its history, the MIM last year celebrated September 17 as national integration day.

The party had always maintained that there is only one Independence Day for the entire country and hence there is no need for separate celebrations in Telangana.

For a second consecutive year, MIM will organise a bike rally and a public meeting to celebrate the day.

Interestingly, the Congress party is also holding a meeting of its highest decision-making body Congress Working Committee (CWC) and a huge public meeting in Hyderabad on September 17.

At the public meeting to be addressed by Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and party president Mallikarjun Kharge, the party will unveil its five guarantees. With this the Congress party will formally sound the poll bugle.

The choice of September 17 is seen as a deliberate attempt to counter BJP, BRS and MIM. State Congress president Revanth Reddy has already stated that CWC will greet people of Telangana on the occasion.

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