With an eye on upcoming polls, Telangana BJP promises ‘bulldozer raj’

Political observers say the BJP is looking for sensitive issues for polarising the voters on communal lines and it found one such issue in Preethi's suicide.

Hyderabad: With Assembly elections in Telangana only a few months away, BJP leaders are increasingly using the word bulldozer and promising to emulate the Uttar Pradesh model if voted to power in the state.

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Last year, it had started with MLA Raja Singh, a controversial figure who has been booked on many occasions for hate speech.

Now, BJP’s state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar himself is promising bulldozer rule.

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Sanjay, who is also a Member of Parliament, proudly speaks about the use of bulldozers by the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh. At public meetings, he is promising that if voted to power in Telangana, the BJP will follow the UP model.

Last week, he promised that if voted to power, the BJP will bulldoze the houses of those indulging in crimes against women.

Exuding confidence that the BJP will come to power in Telangana, he said it would follow the model of Uttar Pradesh which is using bulldozers to demolish the houses of offenders.

He was speaking at a day-long protest at the party office in Hyderabad against the increasing atrocities on women in the state.

Sanjay made the remark while referring to the death of Preethi, a MD student of Kaktiya Medical College (KMC), who committed suicide recently due to alleged harassment by her senior.

Since Preethi’s senior who was allegedly harassing her was a Muslim student, the BJP is trying to exploit the incident for political gains with an eye on the coming elections.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders initially called it a case of love jihad. After the police denied that there was any communal angle or sexual harassment, Sanjay started alleging that the BRS government was siding with accused M. A. Saif.

Sanjay claimed that the government was acting in favour of the accused as it fears that the accused will cause communal riots.

The state government, however, has denied this. The ruling party leaders pointed out that the police acted swiftly to arrest Saif. “The government will not spare the guilty whether he is Saif or Sanjay,” remarked BRS working president and minister K. T. Rama Rao.

Bandi Sanjay, in his speech at the protest, only mentioned cases where the accused are Muslims and have links with the AIMIM.

Political observers say the BJP is looking for sensitive issues for polarising the voters on communal lines and it found one such issue in Preethi’s suicide.

By raking up such issues and speaking of bulldozers, the BJP appears to be building a narrative for the polls.

Last month, Sanjay threatened to demolish the domes of the new Secretariat building if his party was voted to power in the next elections. He says the domes reflect the culture of the Nizams and hence they will be demolished if the BJP comes to power.

The MP from Karimnagar is apparently trying to build a narrative which suits the party’s game plan to capture power.

BJP leaders have been targeting the BRS over its alleged policy of minority appeasement and its friendly ties with the AIMIM.

It is in this context that Sanjay faulted the design of the new Secretariat building to train his guns on the BRS and Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.

Sanjay alleged that Rao has turned the Secretariat into a tomb like the Taj Mahal to please AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi.

“If the BJP comes to power, it will destroy the symbols of the Nizam’s culture in the state. We will make changes in the state Secretariat so that it reflects the Indian and Telangana culture,” he said.

The seven-storey structure with a built-up area of 7 lakh square feet was constructed at a cost of nearly Rs 650 crore is ready for inauguration.

Sanjay even challenged municipal administration and urban development minister K. T. Rama Rao to demolish mosques on the roads in the old city of Hyderabad, considered a stronghold of the AIMIM.

Sanjay has been making provocative statements.

He had allegedly delivered a hate speech in May last year. Police complaints were filed against him at various police stations in the state for making provocative remarks against mosques and madarsas.

Alleging that Muslim rulers in Telangana demolished several temples and built mosques over them, he demanded digging at all the mosques, saying there was a possibility of finding Shiva Lingams underneath.

The BJP MP also stated that if his party comes to power in Telangana, it will abolish all the madarsas, do away with reservation for Muslims, and remove Urdu as the second official language.

The saffron party has been trying to exploit sensitive issues for political mileage. Be it KCR’s friendship with Owaisi, four per cent reservation for Muslims, the state government not officially celebrating September 17, second official language to the state or the demand to rename Hyderabad as Bhagynagar, the BJP leaders have apparently always tried to look for issues which lead to communal polarisation.

The BRS is countering the BJP by calling it a fight between development and destruction. “We are for development while they want demolition and destruction,” said Rama Rao.

It was Raja Singh who first talked of bulldozers.

He had sparked a row in February last year with his tweet amidst the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections in February.

The firebrand leader had released a video after the second phase of polling in Uttar Pradesh, threatening voters that if they don’t cast their votes for the BJP their houses will be demolished and they will be driven out of the state.

After the BJP retained power in Uttar Pradesh, Raja Singh made another controversial statement on the subject, this time targeting the BRS and the AIMIM.

He remarked that Union Home Minister Amit Shah was sending a bulldozer to Telangana. “The way Yogi ji used bulldozers against the mafia in Uttar Pradesh, under Sanjay’s leadership bulldozers will be used in Telangana definitely against these goondas and MIM. No goonda or mafia will be spared in Telangana,” he said.

A few days later, Raja Singh urged people to make a list of the TRS’s corruption, encroachments, properties etc so that these structures could be bulldozed.

“A strong bulldozer will come to Telangana too to tear down the corruption of TRS like Yogi Adityanath ji ended the mafia in UP. I appeal to the public to identify all the corrupt activities and encroachments on public and private properties, land of poor and farmers by the MPs, MLAs and ministers of TRS,” said the MLA.

Exuding confidence that the BJP will form the next government in Telangana, Raja Singh said the party was readying the bulldozers. “We are planning one for every constituency,” he remarked.

Some political analysts believe that while bulldozer politics apparently yielded the BJP good dividends in states like Uttar Pradesh, its impact in Telangana may be confined to a few urban pockets.

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