Patna: Ignoring the strong reservation expressed by the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally Janata Dal (United), Bihar revenue and land reforms minister and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ram Surat Rai made it clear on Tuesday that a “bulldozer drive” will be launched against absconding criminals and those encroaching the state government’s land.
Rai, who wants to replicate the bulldozer model of BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, warned “encroachers” a day after the Nitish Kumar-led JD(U) rejected the growing demand of state BJP leaders to introduce the Uniform Civil Code (UCC). Bihar minister and senior JD(U) leader Vijay Kumar Choudhary categorically said on Tuesday that the party will take a stand against any move to impose the UCC.
A fresh war of words is expected to break out in the coalition over bulldozers. “Bulldozers will be pressed into action against those encroaching government land—there are no ifs and buts. The process has started and all encroached government land will be freed in the first phase, ”Rai told the media.
Rai warned encroachers who have constructed concrete structures, including buildings, that bulldozers will remove them as per directives issued by concerned officials. Even Dalit and Mahadalit encroachers will not be spared, he added. “But land to rehabilitate them will be identified before using bulldozers in urban and semi-urban areas.”
Last month, senior JD(U) leader Upendra Kushwaha opposed the use of bulldozers in demolishing the house of an absconding criminal in Saran district. He said that Bihar doesn’t require a bulldozer model as the “Nitish Kumar model of governance is best”. BJP leaders have been demanding since March to use bulldozers against criminals and encroachers. The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Left parties and the Congress too have countered the BJP’s bulldozer model.
Earlier, the BJP, which has an upper hand in the coalition after it won 73 seats in the 2020 Assembly elections, reportedly stressed adopting the encounter model of the Yogi Adityanath government to get rid of criminals and control the increasing crime rate in the state. It was also rejected by the JD(U).
Now, the BJP has emerged as the single largest party after allegedly engineering a split in its ally Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) last month with all three VIP MLAs joining the saffron party. The BJP, which has fulfilled its long-awaited dream of becoming the single largest party in the state, is eyeing to replace Kumar with its leader.
On the other hand, the JD(U), with only 45 MLAs, is the third-largest party in the Assembly after the opposition RJD. Before the last Assembly elections, JD(U) used to have more MLAs than the BJP. After the BJP emerged as the big brother, the saffron party leaders started behaving differently and Kumar was forced to play second fiddle.