The BJP's first move in new Telangana Legislative Assembly, boycotting the appointment of the AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi as the pro-tem speaker, has put a spotlight on the underlying religious divisions within the democratic system. This action reflects the BJP's stance on minority representation in politics, highlighting their discomfort with a Muslim leader in any prominent position. The refusal by BJP members to acknowledge the AIMIM candidate as the pro-tem speaker who would administer oaths to the newly-elected members of Telangana Legislative Assembly, reveals the nature of the politics they thrive at. This comes at a time when the saffron party has effectively demolished political representation of minorities nationwide. Expressing concern, Congress leader Kapil Sibal remarked, "Such public expression of hate makes me wonder where my country is heading! Is this the Mother of Democracy we publicly proclaim to be?" https://twitter.com/KapilSibal/status/1733678300747444596 Many netizens also highlighted the BJP's discomfort with a Muslim leader being chosen for the pro-tem speaker role, especially as the appointment was made by the Telangana governor, who previously served as a BJP president in Tamil Nadu. https://twitter.com/stoppression/status/1733727519566930237?s20 Describing the boycott of the oath-taking event by the BJP as an “insult to the Constitution”, both the ruling Congress party and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi criticised the BJP for acting “against the spirit of democracy”. Show of 'inclusivity' Following the recent elections that saw the Congress replace the BRS in Telangana, the governor summoned the new legislative assembly. Akbaruddin Owaisi, celebrating his sixth electoral victory from Chandrayangutta, was appointed as the pro-tem Speaker. This marked the second time an AIMIM legislator took on this role, after Mumtaz Ahmed Khan in 2018. Although the Congress managed to gain Muslim community support, none of its candidates won in the Assembly elections. Out of the seven Muslim newly-elected legislators in the Assembly, all are from AIMIM. Congress's decision to appoint Akbaruddin as pro-tem speaker was seen as an attempt at inclusivity, but drew criticism from the BJP. BJP MLAs urged Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundarajan to cancel Akbaruddin Owaisi's appointment, citing violations of procedural norms and past precedents. They perceived this move as pandering to specific sections of society, fostering discontent within political circles. https://twitter.com/ANI/status/1733404034189721878 Pertinently, BJP leaders, particularly Raja Singh, have previously made derogatory comments about Muslim legislators. Spewing hatred On October 1, Raja Singh at an event in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara, stated that he was ashamed to be part of the Telangana Assembly and wished to ‘chase away and shoot down’ All India Majlis e Ittehad ul Muslimeen’s (AIMIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi and seven other MLAs of the party. “When I go to the Telangana Assembly, on my right, Owaisi’s little bulldog (referring to Asaduddin Owaisi’s younger brother Akbaruddin Owaisi) and his seven MLAs are seated. Sometimes I wish to chase them away and shoot them. But I am compelled to do otherwise,” says Raja Singh.Singh's remarks about AIMIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi and seven other MLAs were condemned for their divisive nature, exacerbating the existing strife in the political landscape. It wasn’t the first time that BJP leaders publicly expressed their hatred for Muslim political leaders, and it certainly does not look like it will be the last time either.