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“Will Take Us Only 15 Seconds”: BJP Leader’s Jab. A Owaisi Says “Do It”

New Delhi: A statement made 11 years ago by Akbaruddin Owaisi, a leader of AIMIM, which was interpreted as a threat to Hindus – famously known as the “if police are removed for 15 minutes…” remark – has prompted a similarly controversial response. Navneet Rana, a BJP leader campaigning for Madhavi Latha, the BJP’s candidate for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, which is dominated by Akbaruddin Owaisi’s brother, Asaduddin Owaisi, retorted, “… it will take us only 15 seconds.”

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Ms. Rana, a former independent MP from Amravati, Maharashtra, referenced Akbaruddin Owaisi’s 2013 statement, stating, “The younger brother said, ‘Remove police for 15 minutes so we can show what we can do.’ I want to tell him, ‘It might take you 15 minutes… but it will only take us 15 seconds… ”

Further remarks by Ms. Rana have also been criticized. She asserted that Madhavi Latha would “definitely prevent Hyderabad from turning into Pakistan” and alleged that voting for either the Congress or the AIMIM would essentially be supporting Pakistan.

A 39-second video clip of Ms. Rana’s remarks was shared on her social media account, with the Owaisi brothers tagged in the post. Asaduddin Owaisi swiftly responded, challenging Ms. Rana to act on her words.

“The face-off between Ms. Rana (and Ms. Latha) and Asaduddin Owaisi highlights the intense battle for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, which has been held by the AIMIM leader since 2004. The BJP has never won here; in 2019, the party’s candidate received fewer than 236,000 votes, while Mr. Owaisi garnered over half a million with a 64 percent vote share.

The electoral rivalry has already witnessed confrontations. Last month, during a Ram Navami rally in Hyderabad, Madhavi Latha of the BJP imitated drawing and firing an arrow near a mosque, drawing widespread condemnation, including from Mr. Owaisi, who described it as “vulgar, obscene, and provocative.”

Ms. Latha later issued a statement on social media expressing regret, but also claimed the circulated video was “incomplete.” She spoke to news agency PTI, alleging a “conspiracy against us (the BJP) … because we work well with both Hindu and Muslim brothers” and questioned the presence of the mosque.

The Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat comprises seven Assembly segments, six of which are held by the AIMIM. Voting is scheduled for May 13, along with the other 16 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.

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