Elections in Uttar Pradesh have always been about symbols like the cycle, the elephant and the lotus. In 2022, a new symbol will enter UP’s political jargon – the mighty bulldozer.
Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav has said in his ongoing campaign that people will say goodbye to the “bulldozers of BJP” along with Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in the upcoming elections. He had also recently challenged the CM to change the BJP’s election symbol to a bulldozer.
Yadav’s attack reflects the BJP’s campaign against unauthorized constructions across Uttar Pradesh. The BJP is proud of it, saying it has acted against “illegal properties” built or occupied by the likes of Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed. Bulldozer is also in BJP’s propaganda songs.
“Then why are they not using bulldozers to demolish the house of Union Minister Ajay Mishra Teni and his son? Or bulldozer at the house of the policemen who killed an innocent man in Gorakhpur?” Referring to the Lakhimpur Kheri violence and the death of a businessman during a police search in the then Lok Sabha constituency of Yogi Adityanath, SP spokesperson Udayveer Singh questions.
BJP spokesperson Rakesh Tripathi says that Yogi Adityanath’s bulldozer is the talk of the town. “Akhilesh Yadav is sad because those criminals and gangsters built their palaces during his reign. Now he is helplessly watching them collapse,” Tripathi says.
The BJP government in UP says it has taken action against the state’s 33 top mafia properties worth Rs 742 crore, either to destroy them or to confiscate them. CM Yogi Adityanath has said that under the PM Awas Yojana, houses will be built for the poor on the vacant land.
SP’s Udayveer Singh claims that bulldozers have also been installed in the homes of the poor. “They also demolished people’s houses in Ayodhya while acquiring land for the temple complex. Why not compensate people for a noble cause?” he asks.
“Everything (demolition across the state) has happened as per the law. The motto is clear – no one can take over the property of the poor by force. We are ready to contest this election for this reason. People are with us,” Tripathi counters.
Singh in turn questioned why the BJP did not take action against properties belonging to the likes of former MP Dhananjay Singh, who has been declared absconding by the court. “Is it because he belongs to the same caste as the chief minister? By targeting the distant relatives of Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed and SP leader Azam Khan, the BJP has made the bulldozer a Hindu-Muslim issue.
Interestingly, the machine which is being described as a bulldozer in popular parlance in UP is actually a JCB excavator. Massive Viral in 2019 That’s when Indians started sharing memes, photos and videos of random crowds watching the mighty machines go about their normal work.
But in the heat of the state’s biggest elections, it is the ‘bulldozers’ that are furious.