Ahead of the Delhi civic polls, bulldozer politics has entered the national capital both physically and politically. The BJP, AAP and the Congress are at loggerheads since the BJP ruled civic body in Delhi started bulldozing illegal structures in Jahangirpuri and then initiating an anti-encroachment drive in places like Shaheen Bagh.
The Congress and AAP local leaders have opposed the drive in Shaheen Bagh but the Congress is more vocal than Delhi's ruling party, the AAP. However, on Friday Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia of the AAP wrote a letter to the Union Home Minister asking that the demolition drive be stopped as it will affect 60 lakh people.
Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewala reacting to the drive said, "The bulldozer of bigotry, superstition, sectarianism, fanaticism, injustice and intolerance heaped upon the Nation by the BJP government has to a large extent trampled upon India's march ahead."
"The issues of Development-Progress-Prosperity-Education-Schools-Roads-Hospitals-Infrastructure-Industry-Employment-Agriculture are no longer electoral issues in our country."
He said that the BJP is not looking at the issues which are relevant to the country. The "BJP sponsored issues are Shamshan/Kabristan, Bulldozer, Loudspeaker, Mandir vs Masjid vs Church vs Gurudwara, changing names of roads and monuments, creating division on the basis of clothing and food habits."
The politics of bulldozers which started from Uttar Pradesh is taking a pan-India turn with many states ruled by the BJP initiating this from Assam to Madhya Pradesh. However the BJP has defended this move of bulldozers. BJP leader Adesh Gupta blamed the "Bangladeshis and Rohingyas for the violent clashes", and asked the North Delhi Mayor to remove illegal encroachments in the area. Later he also asked the other two Mayors to remove the encroachments.
However, it is not that there is no opposition. More than a dozen civil society organisations and political parties took out a procession on April 11 to Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal's residence protesting against the anti-encroachment drive in the national capital.
Holding placards and raising slogans, as the citizen groups marched ahead a large police force stopped them much before the road leading to the LG's residence. The protesters also shouted slogans against "rising" communalism.
The protesters also included Left wing organisations such as the CPI, CPI(M), CPI (ML), AIFB and RSP.
All India Kisan Mahasabha Secretary Purushottam Mishra told IANS: "This is a demonstration to protest action against the poor of the country. This is not an action against illegal encroachments but an attempt to divide the Hindu and Muslim communities and a campaign for corporates to loot the common man."
"The government is trying to distract the common man by raising communal politics. We will raise our voice against it across the country. We shall organise demonstrations throughout May," he said.
However the Congress and the AAP were caught unawares as the BJP seems to have set the agenda for the MCD polls through Shaheen Bagh -- famous for its month long anti-CAA protest.
Local AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was arrested on Thursday for blocking MCD officials, but Congress leaders in Shaheen Bagh continue to accuse the BJP and the AAP of 'fixing'. Khan was granted bail on Friday.
It blamed the civic body and staged high octane protests after a MCD team reached Shaheen Bagh to raze "illegal" structures in the area on Monday. Congress leader Parvez Alam Khan, Vice Chairman of the Delhi Congress' Media Department, who was detained by the police said that the local MLA came late after the Congress started protesting; he should have spoken to the administration but "the AAP and the BJP are in match fixing".