A local election in Hyderabad has the BJP's A-listers flying down to the city for a campaign that has become less and less about roads and sanitation. BJP president JP Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah will visit the city this weekend, a sign that the ruling party's formidable election machinery is entirely focused on a set of municipal wards in India's top IT hub.

Union Minister Smriti Irani was in Hyderabad today and addressed a press conference. Her senior colleague Prakash Javadekar had visited earlier this week to release a "charge sheet" against Chief Minister K Chandrashekhara Rao and his Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS).

The BJP has also drafted its star campaigner Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, known for communal remarks that recently made headlines during the Bihar campaign.

Voting will be held in 150 municipal constituencies, or wards, in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) polls on December 1 and a mayor will be elected for the corporation that has a budget of ₹ 5,380 crore this year.

The TRS dominated the last civic polls. This year, Mr Rao or "KCR" is up against a BJP determined to prove that its recent, unexpected victory in an assembly byelection was no fluke.

A week into the campaign, topics that have dominated political speeches in Hyderabad are Pakistan, Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Osama bin Laden and Rohingya.

In the past two days, the BJP's firebrand MP Tejasvi Surya has delivered hugely controversial speeches in which he has called AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi an "avatar of Mohammad Ali Jinnah". He also accused the Hyderabad MP of bringing "Rohingya Muslims instead of development" to the city.

Mr Owaisi shot back at a public meeting: "These people need to have some biryani which will bring them back to their senses."

The BJP's Telangana president and MP, Bandi Sanjay Kumar, doubled down on Mr Surya's comments by threatening a "surgical strike to flush out Rohingya and Pakistanis" in the old quarters of Hyderabad.

The BJP leader also accused the TRS and AIMIM of trying to win the civic polls with the "illegal votes of Rohingya, Pakistanis and Afghanistanis".

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