Congress President Rahul Gandhi took a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi by asking whether he thinks about the welfare of chowkidars, or watchmen, whose title he was using in his election campaign. Gandhi posted the comment on Facebook along with an article about 10,000 chowkidars in the Jharkhand government who claimed to have not been paid salaries for four months.
“At least think about those under whose disguise you are hiding,” Gandhi wrote. The article, published by The Telegraph on Wednesday, claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Jharkhand had failed to pay 10,000 employees in the chowkidar cadre across 24 districts.
Gandhi has often used the term “chowkidar chor hai” [the watchman is a thief] to refer to Modi while alleging that he 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.