Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Friday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi by employing the “chowkidar” (watchman) jibe used by Congress President Rahul Gandhi. Mayawati on Twitter claimed that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led government is hiding data on unemployment and the farming crisis.

The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister said the BJP is conducting its affairs to secure its public and votes. “It is not a major concern if the Rafale jet deal classified file is stolen, but official data related to unemployment, pathetic conditions of labourers and farmers will not be made public,” she tweeted. “Does the country need such type of Chowkidar?”

Mayawati said the people only need their leaders to be committed to the law and the Constitution. “BJP leaders are scrambling to declare themselves chowkidar to appease the masses,” she tweeted. “But leaders like the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister [Adityanath] are in quandary about whether to be a public servant or a watchman.”

She was referring to the Centre’s claim that review petitions in the Supreme Court against a verdict disallowing an inquiry into the Rafale jet deal should be dismissed because they are based on documents “stolen” from the Ministry of Defence. However, two days later, Attorney General KK Venugopal told the Supreme Court that the documents were not stolen, but the petitioners were using “photocopies of the original” papers.

Gandhi had used the term “chowkidar chor hai” [the watchman is a thief] while alleging that Modi allowed industrialist Anil Ambani to secure the offset contract in the Rafale jet deal with France. Modi on Wednesday accused Gandhi of having insulted security guards, claiming that the word “chowkidar” has become synonymous with patriotism and honesty. Modi said his rivals lacked the courage to either name him or directly attack him, and had instead resorted to attacking watchmen.

On March 17, top BJP leaders, including the prime minister, prefixed the term “chowkidar” to their names on Twitter. The party also started a #MainBhiChowkidar campaign on social media, urging people to join it. Modi claimed on Wednesday that the whole country has embraced the campaign.

The 2019 General Elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be out on May 23. Voting in Uttar Pradesh will also be held in seven phases – on April 11, April 18, April 23, April 29, May 6, May 12 and May 19.