Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Saturday mocked Narendra Modi’s “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign, asking if the prime minister was “feeling a little guilty today”. Gandhi was responding to Modi’s announcement of his new initiative on Twitter.
“Defensive tweet Mr Modi!” Gandhi wrote, attaching a photograph with the faces of Modi and businessmen such as Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya and Mehul Choksi.
Earlier in the day, Modi launched the “Main Bhi Chowkidar”, or “I am also the watchman”, campaign. Modi has repeatedly referred to himself as the country’s chowkidar, or watchman. Rahul Gandhi often uses the “chowkidar chor hai” taunt, or “watchman is thief”, against Modi, which he had started saying while alleging irregularities and favouritism in the Rafale defence deal.
“Your Chowkidar is standing firm [and] serving the nation,” Modi tweeted on Saturday. “But, I am not alone. Everyone who is fighting corruption, dirt, social evils is a Chowkidar. Everyone working hard for the progress of India is a Chowkidar. Today, every Indian is saying #MainBhiChowkidar.”
The tweet was accompanied by a video, which begins with Modi saying, “Your chowkidar is absolutely alert”. The visuals show people from across the country singing the chorus “main bhi chowkidar hun”. The video urges people to join Modi on March 31 in a programme “Main bhi Chowkidar”.
The “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign is seen as a kick-starter to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, according to Hindustan Times.
The BJP in a statement said the campaign was launched after extensive surveys and data analysis by party strategists, reported The Times of India. The party claimed strategists feel that Rahul Gandhi’s “chowkidar chor hai” remark was not resonating with people.
“This campaign will also further drive the narrative of PM’s strong and decisive image which multiple surveys have conveyed is the main factor in the upcoming elections,” the party said.
The party also launched merchandise with the “Main bhi chowkidar” logo.