Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said it was ironic that businessmen such as Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi had all fled the country under his watch.
“Poke as much fun as you want, but if there’s one thing the PM has mastered over the years, it’s the art of marketing and creating campaigns that resonate with the masses,” she said in a tweet. “The irony obvious is that Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choski, Nirav Modi all fled under this chowkidar’s watch.”
Mufti’s remarks came after Modi launched the “Main Bhi Chowkidar”, or “I am also the watchman”, campaign on Saturday. The prime minister has repeatedly referred to himself as the country’s chowkidar, or watchman. Modi and several leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party, including Smriti Irani, Piyush Goyal and Ravi Shankar Prasad, also added “chowkidar” to their Twitter handles.
“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.”
Congress President 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.
The “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign is seen as a kick-starter to the BJP’s campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The BJP in a statement had said the campaign was launched after extensive surveys and data analysis by party strategists. The party claimed strategists feel that Gandhi’s “chowkidar chor hai” remark was not resonating with people.