A strong buzz against AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi’s unusual comnent caught a lot of people, not just from the political spectrum, by surprise when, during a speech in the Lok Sabha, he raised the fears of Hyderabad being made a Union Territory.

Owaisi’s words not only brought immediate denial by the BJP, but also led to strong reactions from various quarters.

But the question is why he mentioned the issue in Parliament in the first place, since there was not even an inkling of the matter in public domain and the issue was considered more or less ‘dead’. Was there any development at the highest echelons of the Government that the common public is not aware of, or was Owaisi implementing a well-thought of strategy that would bring political dividends?

These are the questions doing rounds in political circles as well among the general public of both the Telugu states.

Talk of making Hyderabad a Union Territory is not new – the issue has been widely discussed in public domain when the process of bifurcation and Andhra Pradesh was underway in 2014.

When the movement for separate Telangana state reached its peak, people who wanted justice done to all the regions of undivided AP. According to one proposal, Hyderabad should be made a UT and allowed to serve as joint capital of both residuary AP and Telangana.

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Though the AP Reorganisation Act-2014 stipulated Hyderabad as the joint capital for 10 years, a majority of the people hoped that it would continue to serve as the seat of administration for both the states after completion of this period, on the lines of Chandigarh that has been serving as capital of Punjab and Haryana since over five decades.

The main argument for not making Hyderabad perpetual joint capital is that it’s not linked to residuary AP by land, and the nearest point being about 180 km away. This could have been addressed by allotting four or five revenue mandals in Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts on the Hyderabad – Vijayawada highway to AP to ensure it was linked to Hyderabad by land. But the framers of the Reorganisation Act preferred ignoring the desires of a majority of the people.

Since 2014, the issue has been more or less a dead horse, and when Owaisi flogged it, everyone has sat up and taken notice.

A very interesting fact is that the AIMIM, born and bred in South India, is gradually spreading its base in a number of states in the North, something that has never happened before. One cannot miss the fact that the onward march of the AIMIM is dependent on religious polarisation rather than ideology.

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What’s surprising is that the ruling dispensation that depends on Hindu ideology, is allowing a minor political player like the AIMIM that depends on the Muslim vote, to expand.

This is lending credence to rumours that there is a secret understanding between the BJP and AIMIM.

There are no permanent friends and feuds in politics. This saying is widely credited to Winston Churchill globally and Kannada political stalwart Devaraj Urs nationally. If it is to be believed, BJP might have a secret understanding with the AIMIM despite their ideological differences. A video clip featuring Owaisi and Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G. Kishan Reddy that went viral on social media recently certainly set tongues wagging.

Public display of animosity between the two is expected, since religious polarisation helps both of them.

It’s a known fact that since decades, ruling parties, with the exception of the Congress under N Kirankumar Reddy, have taken great care to remain in the good books of the AIMIM. Incumbent Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is no exception; the TRS bagged the Mayor and Deputy Mayor posts only with the help of the AIMIM.

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The dependence of TRS on the AIMIM does not end with that. The party will be hoping to win a third consecutive election and continue to remain in power. This would mean that it would face massive anti-incumbency and would need an issue to galvanise the voters in its favour.

If the issue of UT emerges, the political scenario in Telangana will get heated and lead to emotions running high again.

AIMIM may lose out if Hyderabad is made a UT; in fact every other party, with the exception of the BJP, will lose out in this eventuality.

With the BJP making inroads into Telangana and expanding its base, such a move may be detrimental to its political interests in Telangana. However, it may win the hearts of people of AP as five crore Andhraites have a psychological and emotional bond with Hyderabad.

For most of the Andhraites, Hyderabad is a home away from home, with almost every Andhra family having a relative living in the city.

Needless to say, making Hyderabad a UT may be a masterstroke by Narendra Modi to reach the people of Andhra and fulfil his political ambitions in AP. #KhabarLive #hydnews