HYDERABAD: The sporadic clashes in the Old City of Hyderabad carry one message which is loud and clear - a turf war is catching on.
The MIM is keen on keeping its vice-like grip on the area while the CPM is bent on breaking it and establishing its own pockets of influence.
The recent clash between the workers of the CPM and the MIM in Bhavaninagar in the Old City is a pointer to this.
Twenty-two-year-old Md Aqeel, a history-sheeter, committed suicide.
The CPM blamed the MIM for his death.
Its argument: The MIM had brought pressure on him through police to act as a police informer, which he refused.
As the pressure continued, he ended his life, CPM leaders allege.
But the MIM stoutly denies the charges.
MIM leaders laugh at the accusations that clashes were taking place because the CPM is making progress in capturing its "enemy territory".
"CPM leaders are under a delusion.
The MIM has support of the people in the entire Old City.
When communal clashes took place in 2010, we have spent `49 lakh to obtain bail for the innocent youths rounded up by the police.
When Aqeel ended his life a couple of days ago, we were the first to reach his house to commiserate with his family members.
How can we be branded as tormentors?" MIM president and MP Asaduddin Owaisi asks.
Leading CPM workers in the Old City is former MP P Madhu.
He has consistently been campaigning against the MIM, saying that the only agenda they have is inciting communal passions and thus continue their suzerainty over the area.
Madhu says as his party is opposed to communalism, he has stepped into the Old City which no one had done before and this is leading to heartburn among MIM leaders.
If the Election Commission can ensure free and fair elections, 2014 will see a drastic decline in the number of Assembly seats (seven) held by the MIM.
The problem is that the Congress and the MIM work hand in glove.
Both have a political agenda.
If the Congress supports MIM in the Old City, the latter, in a quidpro- quo gesture, supports the Congress in the rest of the state.
"For this trade off, the Congress allows the government to be run by the MIM in the Old City.
The MIM has a hold on police and revenue officials in the area," Madhu says, adding: "If only we had an officer like AK Mohanty as Hyderabad police commissioner, there would have been an effective check on their activities.
I can show MIM workers having multiple photo ID cards.
This has to end," he says.
Owaisi, however, says Madhu is not from the Old City and yet he goes there.
Whenever he is there, he creates a scene.
Even when he went to Aqeel's place the other day, he had incited MIM workers with sloganeering which led to flaring up of passions.
He is in that habit," Owaisi says and laughs at Madhu's assessment that the MIM's influence on the people is waning.
Look at the results in the last municipal elections or the 2009 Assembly elections.
I do not know how Madhu is going to substantiate his argument that the CPM is making inroads into the MIM bastion, he says.