Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav's 'Bulldozer Baba' jibe at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath seems to have become a theme for political messaging in West Bengal as well.
The major anti-BJP parties in West Bengal all feel that this "politics of bulldozer" is not just restricted to Uttar Pradesh and the saffron forces are trying to implement this politics against people of a particular community. They feel that this politics of bulldozer is nothing but an attempt to divert attention from burning economic issues like inflation, fuel and cooking gas price hike and the rising unemployment graph.
The tone against the "politics of bulldozer" was first set by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the inauguration of the Bengal Global Business Summit - 2022 on April 21. In the presence of topnotch industrialists of the country she took a subtle jibe at this bulldozer row, where she clearly hinted that this "bulldozing politics" is directed against the people of a particular community be it in Uttar Pradesh or at Jahangirpuri in Delhi.
"We do not believe in bulldozing. Our aim is not dividing the people. Rather we want to unite people, since unity is our strength. Only when you are united, will you be culturally sound. But you will fall if you are divided," the chief minister said.
When asked, Trinamool Congress Rajya Sabha member Sushmita Dev, although not wanting to give a detailed statement on this "politics of bulldozer", said that in her opinion this is yet another ploy to divert attention from the burning issues targeting the people of a particular community.
Veteran CPI(M) leader and former party politburo member Hannan Mollah told IANS that it is high time that the ruling BJP should understand the danger of pursuing this "politics of bulldozer".
"I understand that these are all diversionary tactics that this saffron government has been using since beginning to divert attention from the burning economic issues. But my warning to them is that they should take lessons from Sri Lanka. If the bulldozing politics continue in such a manner there is bound to be a spontaneous mass movement in the country which will be under nobody's control. Using religion in politics does not take anyone anywhere," Mollah told IANS.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, at a programme in Kolkata on Friday morning, also highlighted the necessity of taking a lesson from the recent developments in Sri Lanka. "Our neighbouring island country is an example of spontaneous mass movement against the government there. There is a need to take lessons from Sri Lanka. The people are the true owners of the country and the government is just the manager. So, the people have the power to remove that manager," Yechury said.
According to BJP state spokesperson Shamik Bhattacharya, these terms like "politics of bulldozer" or "bulldozer baba", are coined by the opposition forces to encourage illegal encroachers. "What do the opposition parties want? Do they want illegal encroachers to establish rights on illegally occupied land? And there is no question of religion here. It is legitimate action against law-breakers," he said.
Political analyst Dr Amal Kumar Mukhopadhyay also feels that this "politics of bulldozer" is tantamount to playing with fire. "Previously in the past several autocratic regimes in different countries have attempted to play with fire. Ultimately, they had to succumb to the mass movement. In Delhi, there is already resistance against this bulldozing politics and the authorities had to backtrack," he said.