"Will Take Us Only 15 Seconds...": BJP Leader's Jab. A Owaisi Says "Do It"

A 39-second video clip of the rant by Navneet Rana was posted on her X (formerly Twitter) account, and the Owaisi brothers were tagged in the post.

BJP leader Navneet Rana campaigning for Hyderabad candidate Madhavi Latha.

New Delhi:

A provocative statement 11 years ago by AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi - the infamous "if police are removed for 15 minutes..." remark seen as a threat to Hindus - has spawned an equally shocking "... it will take us only 15 seconds" reply by BJP leader Navneet Rana, while campaigning for Madhavi Latha, the party's candidate for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha dominated by Mr Owaisi's brother, Asaduddin Owaisi.

Ms Rana, a former independent MP from Maharashtra's Amravati, referred to the 2013 swipe by Akbaruddin Owaisi, and said, "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... "

And in other comments also seen as being in poor taste, she declared Madhavi Latha will "definitely stop Hyderabad from turning into Pakistan" and claimed that anyone voting for either the Congress or the AIMIM would simply be voting in favour of Pakistan.

"If you vote for AIMIM and Congress, it goes directly to Pakistan. The kind of 'AIMIM prem (love)' and 'Rahul prem' Pakistan is showing... Just like Congress that governed country on signals from Pak... the same Pak is today saying they 'love Congress and AIMIM'."

A 39-second video clip of the rant by Ms Rana was posted on her X (formerly Twitter) account, and the Owaisi brothers were tagged in the post. The older Owaisi, never one to back down from a fight, responded immediately and dared Ms Rana to follow through.

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"I'm telling (Prime Minister Narendra) Modiji... give her the 15 seconds. What will she do? Give her the 15 seconds... give her an hour even. We too want to see what they will do. Is there any humanity left in them? Who is scared? We are ready... if someone is making an open call (like this) then so be it. Do it. Who is stopping you?" Mr Owaisi told reporters.

The face-off between Ms Rana (and Ms Latha) and Asaduddin Owaisi underlines the high-tension fight for the Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat, which has been held by the AIMIM leader since 2004, and was the bastion of his father, Salahuddin Owaisi from 1984.

The BJP has never won here; in 2019 the party fielded Bhagavanth Rao, who got less than 236,000 votes while Mr Owaisi polled over half a million and a 64 per cent of vote share.

Mr Owaisi has already had one ugly confrontation with his rival for this election.

READ | "Where Did Mosque Come From?": BJP Candidate On "Imaginary Arrow" Row

Last month, during a Ram Navami rally in Hyderabad, the BJP's Madhavi Latha pretended to draw and fire an arrow while near a mosque. The gesture was widely condemned, with Mr Owaisi calling it "vulgar, obscene, and provocative".

Ms Latha later posted a statement on X and professed to apologise, saying, "If anyone's feelings are hurt". However, she also claimed the video circulated is "incomplete". She also spoke to news agency PTI, claiming a "conspiracy against us (the BJP) ... because we work well with both Hindu and Muslim brothers" and demanded "where did the mosque come from?"

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The Hyderabad Lok Sabha seat has seven Assembly segments, of which six are held by the AIMIM.

Voting takes place on May 13, with the other 16 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana.

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