Bhopal: The yellow coloured bulldozer has now become a major tool of politics in the country after the recently concluded assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh. Seeing the poll win with the tag of “Bulldozer Baba” for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan was quick to go the same route.
Chouhan, who had addressed over a dozen election rallies during the UP polls, has praised Yogi Adityanath saying “Baba (Adityanath) came with bulldozers and the mafia was buried.”
Yogi Adityanath earned the title of “Bulldozer Baba” from his political opponent in UP — the Samajwadi Party’s leader Akhilesh Yadav, who gave him the nickname to attack him during the elections. Chouhan was popular as �Mama’ due to the several beneficiary schemes launched for girls by his government in the past. A Bhopal based BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma put up several hoarding/banners with photos of Shivraj and bulldozers addressing Chouhan as �Bulldozer Mama’.
In Madhya Pradesh, Chouhan’s bulldozer drive began just over a week after the results on March 10 of the UP polls where Yogi Adityanath led the BJP back to power. On March 16, a woman was gang raped in Shahdol district, subsequently by March 19, Chouhan had ordered the use of the bulldozer to flatten the properties of the mafia as well as those of the gang rape, rioting and kidnapping accused in Seoni, Sheopur, Jaora, Shahdol and Raisen.
On March 28, a minor girl was raped by a spiritual storyteller in Rewa’s circuit house. Two days after the incident, Chouhan visited Rewa and directed the district administration and the police to use bulldozers against the properties of those involved in the incident. “Where are your bulldozers and when would they be used? ” Chouhan had asked the Rewa district administration and the police while addressing a programme on March 31.
Following the Chief Minster�s order, the Rewa district administration and the police carried out a two-week long bulldozer drive and demolished several houses belonging to people associated with the rape case. During the operation, Rewa’a most notorious gangster Sanjay Tripathi was arrested from Bhopal and buildings constructed on government land were demolished.
This was followed by the communal violence in Khargone and Barwani district of the state during a Ram Navami procession on April 10, a day after Chouhan’s social media handles uploaded a video of him addressing the public, in which he was seen warning people that if they “look in a wrong manner at a mother or sister, then Mama will send (them) to jail. Nothing will be left of his shop, or house.”
Subsequently, on April 12, Chouhan held a meeting with officials of the state home ministry, chief secretary and the Director General of Police to take stock of the situation in Khargone and Barwani. After that a huge anti-encroachment drive began in the riot-hit areas which was extended to other parts of the state.
Chouhan’s bulldozer drive drew wide criticism from the Opposition for allegedly demolishing the houses of Muslims. Former Chief Minister and Rajya Sabha MP Digvijaya Singh accused the Chouhan led BJP government of targeting Muslims and called the bulldozer drive a �biased action’.
Digvijaysa’s questions over the state government’s actions sparked a political barb fest between the BJP and the Congress. Nearly two dozen FIRs were registered against Singh in different parts of the state. And Chouhan’s bulldozer drive continued.