BJP MLA threatens “JCB Bulldozer” if voters don’t vote for BJP

A BJP MLA from Assam, campaigning for BJP candidate Kripanath Mallah in Karimganj, has stirred controversy with a statement threatening to use bulldozers to evict people who do not vote for his party.

Speaking at a gathering in Patiala Panchayat on April 6, MLA Bijoy Malakar warned attendees that if they did not vote for the BJP, they would face consequences. He declared, “I know the homes of all those. If you don’t vote for BJP, the result will be announced and on June 7, the bulldozers will be there.”

Bijoy Malakar, who is an MLA from the Ratabari constituency in Karimganj district, made the alarming remarks during a public event, promising evictions of those who don’t vote for BJP. This is not the first time a BJP MLA has threatened to demolish people’s houses. In January, the newly elected MLA and Cabinet Minister of School Education & Panchayati Raj Department in Rajasthan, Madan Dilawar also threatened protesting teachers to have their houses demolished if they did not behave appropriately with students. 

Evictions and demolition of homes have become common in recent times. In 2023, Sabrang India reported that over 2500 Bengali-speaking Muslims were evicted and rendered homeless after a demolition drive in Assam. Similarly, in January this year, a 55-year-old Muslim man died from the cold after he was evicted from his house with his family. His family called it a state-led ‘murder.’ 

As Assam goes to polls in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, these remarks have ignited strong reactions across the state, with criticism against the ruling party. Karimganj will witness polling in the first phase of the election on April 19. The choices are between BJP leader Kripanath Mallah, AIUDF leader Sahabul Islam Choudhury, and Congress leader Advocate Hafeez Rashid Ahmed Choudhury. 

Hafiz Rashid Ahmed, an INC candidate and Senior Advocate at Gauhati High Court, condemned the statement and termed it as a violation of electoral conduct rules, calling for appropriate action to be taken. He further stated that the use of bulldozers for evictions has become a contentious issue in Assam, particularly under the tenure of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, with thousands of people reportedly displaced in recent years. This threat by the BJP MLA has raised concerns about the political climate and the tactics employed during elections.

Earlier a Scheduled Caste seat, but after the last delimitation exercise Karimganj is now an open seat. Karimganj has a large population of Muslims, who form about 56 % of the total population. On-ground observers note that the party is making efforts to bring down the opposition by resorting to such tactics. 

Assam goes to vote in the first, second and third phase of the Lok Sabha elections. April 19 will see Kaziranga, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat and go to polls, while Darrang-Udalguri, Diphu, Karimganj, Silchar, Nagaon and Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Barpeta, Guwahati will vote on April 26 and May 07 respectively. 

This speech by Malakar comes as CM Himanta Biswa Sarma recently posted on X, formerly Twitter, that they “don’t do politics of ‘Hindu-Muslims.” However, just a few days earlier, the sitting CM stated that there is nothing wrong with “polarisation.” According to ETV Bharat, the CM was on an election campaign for the BJP leader in Kaki in Lumding on April 14, when he said, “I always do religious polarisation. What is new? There is nothing wrong with that. Because what is my religious polarisation – there will be no insult to Hindus. If it is called polarisation, then I will polarise. Is it religious polarisation to raise a voice for the rights of Hindus?” The BJP leader is also known for giving incendiary speeches. Sabrang India noted that he gave 3 hate speeches during the election campaign for multiple poll-bound states in 2023. 


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