GHMC polls: Lone Muslim face of BJP out to prove a point in Dabeerpura

Hyderabad: Even as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state chief Bandi Sanjay Kumar speaks about a ‘surgical strike’ in the Old City of Hyderabad the party has named only one Muslim candidate for the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections scheduled to be held on December 01.

Mirza Akhil Afandi is the only Muslim candidate from BJP party contesting from the Dabeerpura ward from the old city. Afandi, the 35-year-old entrepreneur and part of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), has contested the by-election from this ward which happened quietly this year and stood second leaving the TRS candidate third. He secured 2,000 votes where the polling percentage was not even 25. He says he is in a good position to challenge the AIMIM candidate.

Interestingly, of 10 Muslim candidates who applied to contest from this ward, he was given the opportunity. He said Muslims in Dabirpura ward were not averse to his candidature as a BJP nominee, but he was getting threatening calls with some of the relatives refusing to accept him as a BJP candidate.

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He joined the BJP in 2013 and has been an activist of MRM, Muslim wing of RSS. His family has a long association with Shiv Sena and BJP. His mother Tayyaba Afandi is a BJP activist. “My father was with Shiv Sena in Maharashtra.”

“We have been campaigning in the Old City and telling people that the BJP is not against ordinary Muslims. In fact, we are explaining that the NRC is also not against Muslims,” he said. Afandi is undertaking a door-to-door campaign. Former BJP state president Dr Laxman campaigned for him in the ward a few days ago. “We have requested Union MoS for home G Kishan Reddy also to campaign in the ward,” he said.

While he lays focus on TRS and AIMIM promises during last election, he said Dabirpura many families are yet to get flood relief. BJP state minority morcha president Afsar Pasha, who is backing Afandi, said: “We are asking Muslim leaders to join the BJP and encouraging them to contest.”

By Sribala Vadlapatla TNN