Suvendu Adhikari threatens bulldozer politics in Bengal
Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari on Wednesday threatened to introduce Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath’s politics of bulldozers if the BJP was voted to power in Bengal.
The Nandigram MLA is the second BJP leader in a span of two days to refer to the controversial UP model of meting out “instant justice”.
BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul had on Tuesday asked the state administration to take a leaf out of Yogi’s book and raze houses of those who were accused of availing themselves of funds under the Prime Minister’s Awas Yojana scheme illegally.
Addressing a rally at Contai in East Midnapore on Wednesday, Adhikari said: “The BJP will come to power (in Bengal) by winning polls. It will form a nationalist government. Bulldozers will run in Bengal just like (they do in) Uttar Pradesh.”
The meeting which the BJP claimed drew a crowd of 40,000 people was a counter to a rally addressed by Trinamul Congress MP Abhishek Banerjee in Contai on December 3.
After the BJP had come to power in UP in 2017, the government headed by Yogi Adityanath sent bulldozers to raze the homes belonging to people accused of crimes. The government claimed that the homes — owned by Muslims — had been constructed illegally. The controversial actions earned the chief minister the moniker of “Bulldozer Baba”.
During Yogi’s first term, several buildings belonging to alleged criminals like Vikas Dubey, Mukhtar Ansari and Atique Ahmed had been razed to the ground. Both Ansari and Ahmed were elected MLAs.
During his second time, Yogi’s bulldozers demolished the houses of several Samajwadi Party leaders. These actions, according to Opposition parties, are Yogi’s and his government’s way of curtailing voices of dissent. The use of bulldozers for similar purposes has been prevalent in other BJP-ruled states as well.
For Adhikari and Paul, sources in the BJP said, the reference to bulldozers comes in the wake of alleged malpractices by the state government in the disbursal of funds under the rural housing scheme.
“What our leaders basically meant was that the BJP would ensure that all buildings made out of misappropriated funds from the PMAY scheme would be demolished,” a BJP source said.
The Trinamul Congress criticised Adhikari’s threat to introduce the Yogi model of punishment in Bengal.
“Yogi’s model is directed at dissenting voices. It goes against the principle of natural justice. Suvendu’s cry shows his frustration and disrespect for democracy,” said a Trinamul leader in East Midnapore.
The BJP has been trying to cash in on the grievances against the ruling dispensation in Bengal in the run-up to panchayat polls. Adhikari and Bengal BJP president Sukanta Majumdar met Union panchayat raj minister Giriraj Singh on Tuesday to discuss issues of alleged corruption in the disbursal of the PMAY funds.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Adhikari felicitated nine individuals who had been active workers of the Sang parivar since Jan Sangh days.
He said those who didn’t respect the older generation would fail to move forward. This many party workers thought was his olive branch to party old-timers like Dilip Ghosh.