Lucknow, March 12 (IANS) The bulldozer politics that originated in Uttar Pradesh in 2020 has now become the mainstay of the Yogi Adityanath government.
The bulldozer – usually seen as a tool of destruction and upheaval – has become a symbol of good governance not only in Uttar Pradesh but outside the state too.
Most governments in the country, mainly the BJP-led ones, are now betting on the bulldozer that is apparently bringing in more bouquets than brickbats.
The bulldozer first gained prominence in the Yogi Adityanath government in July 2020 when this mean machine was used to pull down the house of gangster Vikas Dubey in Bikru village in Kanpur.
Dubey was the main accused in the massacre of eight police personnel and bulldozing his palatial house seemed like speedy justice in the terror-stricken area.
Muslim voices protesting Nupur Sharma’s statement on the Prophet, then became the target of the bulldozer in Prayagraj and this gave a Hindu approval to the action.
Thereafter, the bulldozer was used to demolish the ill-gotten properties of mafia dons like Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmad, both of whom were behind bars.
The state government happily released photographs and videos of the houses, shopping complexes, hotels and buildings of the mafia crumbling under the power of the bulldozer.
A social activist says, “All these recent bulldozer politics of the BJP government is nothing but to create a narrative that anything illegal is associated with Muslims and it is becoming an increasingly threatening gimmick. It is probably a warning message for those who rage against the government.”
The bulldozer gradually emerged as a symbol of justice against wrong-doers and Yogi supporters, mainly Hindus, cheered the initiative.
In the midst of the assembly election, a local daily named Yogi Adityanath as ‘Bulldozer Baba’ and this took the BJP campaign to the next level.
Leader after leader spoke about the might of the bulldozer in the elections and how Yogi Adityanath had brought criminals to their knees with his bulldozer.
The results of the UP assembly elections where the BJP staged a return to power, put the seal of approval on bulldozer politics and the opposition that had tried to project the bulldozer as a symbol of tyranny, was put on the backfoot.
The popularity of the bulldozer politics was evident from the fact that Holi sprinklers now come in the shape of a bulldozer and even the rakhi comes with a miniature bulldozer. A whole range of bulldozer toys are now being sold on e-commerce sites like Amazon and Flipkart.
Some young men in Agra have even tattooed the images of the bulldozer and Bulldozer Baba on their bodies after Yogi Adityanath’s victory.
While the results made other states like Madhya Pradesh and Delhi adopt the bulldozer formula with open arms, it also gave Yogi Adityanath the opportunity to pursue this brand of politics even more aggressively in his second term.
The UP police are now targeting those linked to mafia dons on an almost daily basis and people are lapping it up.
Bulldozer Baba’s politics is getting increasingly popular and so is his image as a stern administrator who will spare no wrong doer.
Though there are allegations of the bulldozer politics being ‘selective’ but the voices of approval are far louder.
Yogi Adityanath is being felicitated with miniature bulldozers at various functions and the chief minister is not complaining.
Legal experts, in hushed tones, question the legality of the bulldozer action but when the Supreme Court, last year, declined to stay the demolition of properties using bulldozers throughout the country, noting that an “omnibus” order by the top court could restrain municipal authorities from acting against all unauthorised constructions, the debate died a hurried death.
“There is a legal process that must be adopted before a house or property is demolished but the judiciary apparently does not have the courage to go against the people’s mood. You need to get the court’s nod before pulling down a building. But here, the building is razed and the papers are then prepared and approved in back date. No one can dare to question the process,” said a senior high court lawyer who did not wish to be named.
Every building that has been demolished in Yogi Raj is said to be illegally constructed on land that belongs to another.
The bulldozer now noisily dawdles across Uttar Pradesh and for the BJP, it is a case of the more the merrier.
BJP leaders claim that it is the bulldozer that will again yield rich dividends in the 2024 general elections.
And no one is questioning the claim.
Meanwhie, Chief Ministers of the saffron party have started believing that the use of bulldozers will strengthen their image and prove to be beneficial during polls. It is expected that it will not only be increasingly used in the coming days, but will be an integral part of the election campaign, in slogans and songs in other states apart from UP.