Shivraj turns to bulldozer to shore up his image in poll-bound MP

Bhopal, March 12 (IANS)
Whether the ‘bulldozer action’ initiated against criminals in Madhya Pradesh will be a blessing for the ruling BJP or the opposition Congress will get an edge by terming it an illegal measure would be known only after the results of the assembly elections to be held later this year. As of now, the saffron party’s move appears to have been successful in building Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s image as someone who is tough on crime.
Insiders in the Madhya Pradesh BJP claimed the ‘bulldozer action’ had become the need of the hour with rising criminal activities especially against women. Chouhan, who has developed an image of ‘mama’ (maternal uncle), concluded that the rising crimes against women and other criminal activities was denting the image of ‘mama’, and therefore, he had to take some bold action to counter the accusations being hurled at him from every corner.
As a result, Chouhan started using the same language — ‘those involved in crime against women will be buried’ or ‘rapists will be ruined’ — as his counterpart and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Some senior BJP functionaries, meanwhile, pointed out that law and order had never been as much a challenge in Madhya Pradesh as in UP.
Rajneesh Agrawal, secretary of the Madhya Pradesh BJP, claimed that prompt action was needed, and therefore, Chouhan decided to punish criminals without giving them much time. “Sometimes society demands some tough action from the government and this is what CM Chouhan did through the bulldozer action. Criminals need to live in fear, not society. The move has re-established people’s faith in the BJP’s governance. Houses were bulldozed which were built illegally or of those who were involved in serious crimes. The government machinery has always taken action against criminals, but the criminals often escape from punishment due to long procedures of punishment. Bulldozer action is prompt action, which does not give much time to criminals,” Agrawal added justifying his party’s bulldozer tactics.
Sources told IANS that the bulldozer action was initiated solely by Chouhan and he monitors each and every action.
Shivraj’s bulldozer action was criticised by the opposition Congress especially when communal violence broke out in Khargone in April last year, following which the state administration bulldozed several houses belonging to Muslim families. The Congress leadership accused the BJP of targeting one particular community or a section of society for political vendetta. However, the government has maintained that the action was ‘unbiased’.
The Congress questioned the BJP’s bulldozer action saying Chouhan’s long tenure has an unimpressive track record when it comes to the rule of law in Madhya Pradesh.
“The NCRB data says that Madhya Pradesh is number one in tribal atrocities, it is on top in Dalit atrocities and it is a disappointing government when it comes to rapes and POCSO charges, that’s why they think that this UP model will benefit them. But people know that the BJP had bulldozed the people’s verdict in Madhya Pradesh in 2018, the voters will avenge that by bulldozing the immoral Madhya Pradesh BJP government in 2023,” said Mithun Ahirwar, a MP Congress spokesperson.

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