Explained: Not just bulls, how bulldozers made it to election lexicon in UP | Explained News,The Indian Express

2022-09-24 03:57:14 By : Ms. Rum Song

The Samajwadi Party mentioned it first, as a jibe. The BJP decided to wear it as a badge of honour. And hence the bulldozer entered the poll lexicon this time in Uttar Pradesh, with Yogi Adityanath seeing in it an affirmation of both his government’s “tough on criminals” and “high on development” image.

During the campaign, the Chief Minister and Home Minister Amit Shah contended that in the past five years, law and order had been brought under control in UP, especially the mafia dons. It is properties of these dons demolished by his government that Adityanath proudly cites for his “Bulldozer Baba” credentials.

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Addressing a rally in Ayodhya last month, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said: “Till now, we were calling him (Adityanath) ‘Baba mukhyamantri’. But today, one of the reputed English newspapers called him ‘Baba Bulldozer’… It’s not me who has given this name.”

Soon after, the BJP started ensuring bulldozers were parked at CM’s rallies. These carried banners declaring “Baba ka Bulldozer”.

At a public meeting in Karhal in Mainpuri, from where Akhilesh is contesting, Adityanath warned: “I have sent the bulldozers for repairs. Once they start working again after March 10, all those who are hot-headed now will be silenced.”

The Congress too tried to hop onto the bandwagon. Last week, general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asked the public in Chandauli if the BJP had used the bulldozer against the local mafia.

Between March 2017, when the Adityanath government came to power, and December 5, the UP Police claims to have arrested over 12,000 wanted criminals and invoked the National Security Act against around 680. Police also claim to have registered 14,982 cases against criminals under the UP Gangsters and Anti-Social Activities (Prevention) Act. Under the Act, police claim to have seized properties worth Rs 1,900 crore, and demolished the ones constructed illegally.

Among the prominent names whose buildings have been demolished are gangster-turned-politicians Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed, apart from properties owned by former BSP MP Dawood Ahmed, absconding criminal Badan Singh Badoo, and the house of gangster Vikas Dubey.

However, the UP Police has no official records of the total number of buildings demolished in the last five years.

Under the Gangsters Act, buildings of accused can be demolished after an inquiry by the administration and police, if it is found that necessary clearances have not been obtained.

For example, in August 2020, the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) demolished two buildings registered in the name of controversial MLA Mukhtar Ansari’s family in Dalibagh area of Lucknow. LDA officials claimed that the buildings were constructed without an approved map, and that these were built on ‘evacuee property’.

Asked about the demolitions, Additional Director General, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said properties are seized under the UP Gangsters Act. On details of the properties, he said he would have to collect the same.

While officials did not come on record, sources said to their knowledge, no one had challenged the demolitions of their properties so far.

In December last year, Adityanath declared that government properties recovered from illegal possession of mafia would be used to build houses for the poor. He also laid the foundation stone of 75 houses to be constructed under the PM Awas Yojana (Urban) on land freed from the alleged illegal possession of former MP Atiq Ahmed in Prayagraj.

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