Glorification of ‘bulldozer politics’ in UP under Yogi doesn’t portend well for democracy

Yogi Adityanath, who took oath as UP CM again on March 25, earned tag of “bulldozer baba” during recent elections due to references to JCB machines used to raze properties of alleged criminals

UP CM Yogi Adityanath
UP CM Yogi Adityanath

Arun Srivastava

Yogi Adityanath, who took oath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh for the second time consecutively on March 25, is generally referred to as “Maharaj ji”. He earned his new tag of “bulldozer baba” during the recent elections due to his frequent reference of the heavy JCB machine which his government deployed to raze the properties of alleged criminals in the state.

After a road accident in UP in which a bulldozer completely smashed a cycle, the supporters of Yogi and BJP leaders used this meme to exhibit the muscle power of Yogi. Throughout the state, BJP’s cadres and supporters were seen taking out victory processions on bulldozers and chanting the slogan “bulldozer baba zindabad (long live bulldozer baba)” in praise of Adityanath. Indeed, the bulldozer became a major rallying point during the Assembly elections.

Taking a cue from Yogi, barely four days back, the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chauhan launched his version of bulldozer, adopting the sobriquet ‘Bulldozer Mama’ with a similar avowed mission to take on crime and criminals.

The state administrations of UP and MP claim to have demolished hundreds of palatial houses allegedly owned by criminals.

Nevertheless, independent sources allege that this mechanism is used to harass and frighten the political rivals of both leaders. It is also alleged that since the criminals are working under complete control of the rulers and the ruling party, the administration refrains from laying its hands on them.

The BJP, RSS cadres and supporters of Yogi epitomises the use of the bulldozer as a symbol of Yogi as the 'strongman'. They claim that only a 'strong man' like Yogi can only resort to this mechanism and provide development-oriented administration. But this is purely a perverse and tyrannical notion. A ruler having trust in rule of law will never resort to such a tyrannical mode of rule.

Greek philosopher Aristotle had observed, “It is evident that the form of government is best in which every man, whoever he is, can act best and live happily.”

A tyrannous government cannot provide a peaceful life. The rule of bulldozer creates a government dominated by tyranny.

This ‘bulldozer politics’ provides absolute power to ruler. Tyranny occurs when absolute power is granted to a ruler. In a tyrannical government, the ruler becomes corrupt and uses his power to further his own interests instead of working for the common good.

The rule of law is the principle that no one is exempt from law, even those who are in a position of power. It can serve as a safeguard against tyranny, because just laws ensure that rulers do not become corrupt.

The rule of law is fundamental to peace and security and political stability; to achieve economic and social progress and development; and to protect people’s rights and fundamental freedoms. It is foundational to people’s access to public services, curbing corruption, restraining the abuse of power, and to establishing the social contract between people and the state.

Rule of law and development are strongly interlinked, and strengthened rule of law-based society should be considered as an outcome of the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A ruler must have complete faith in rule of law. But resorting to 'rule of bulldozer' makes it amply clear that the ruler does not have faith and trust in the rule of law and democracy.

At some election rallies, Yogi had also mentioned about ‘bulldozers taking rest’. He said bulldozers will get in action mode again, after elections. As the election results and trends showed a clear BJP majority in Uttar Pradesh, the bulldozers swung into action. The victory also witnessed renewal of the politics of lynching. In some rallies, bulldozers were seen parked at the venue of Adityanath's public meetings.

In Lucknow, Varanasi and Adityanath's own Gorakhpur, enthusiastic party supporters were seen taking out victory processions on bulldozers and chanting the slogan "bulldozer baba zindabad (long live bulldozer baba)" in praise of Adityanath.

(IPA Service)

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