New Delhi: ‘Chowkidar’ (guard or watchman) has become a buzzword in this election campaign. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to carry out the ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’ campaign in 500 places of the country through video conferencing. Mayawati has tweeted in retort, “To further the credo of ‘simple living and high thinking’, the person who, leading a royal life, had promoted himself as a tea seller during the last election for the sake of votes, is now, with great frills and elegance, promoting himself as a watchman. The country is really changing.”
सादा जीवन उच्च विचार के विपरीत शाही अन्दाज में जीने वाले जिस व्यक्ति ने पिछले लोकसभा आमचुनाव के समय वोट की खातिर अपने आपको चायवाला प्रचारित किया था, वे अब इस चुनाव में वोट के लिये ही बड़े तामझाम व शान के साथ अपने आपको चोकीदार chowkidar घोषित कर रहेे हैं। देश वाकई बदल रहा है?
— Mayawati (@Mayawati) March 19, 2019
The BJP was quick to react, albeit by proxy. A supporter of the party tweeted, “You are a person who, contrary to the ‘simple living and high thinking’ of Kanshi Ram, is leading a royal life, making crores worth of properties and getting your own statues erected as well after acquiring power riding on the votes of Dalits and backward classes. The country is changing indeed.”
कांशी राम की सादा जीवन उच्च विचार के विपरीत शाही अंदाज में जीवन जीने वाले जिस व्यक्ति ने चुनाव से पहले दलित और पिछड़े वर्ग का वोट लेकर सत्ता में आने के बाद करोड़ों की संपत्ति बनाती है और जिंदा रहते खुद की अपनी स्टैच्यू बनाती है
— चौकीदार 🇮🇳 Ratnesh Ranjan (@R8nsRanjan) March 19, 2019
‘Opposition leaders could have been chowkidar too’
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted along with the lines of Mayawati’s jibe, “‘Vikas’ (development/also a person’s name) is asking if the chowkidar can relieve the people of Uttar Pradesh from a thokidar (one who hits, a new coinage). To the people of the State, two years of BJP rule are appearing to be 100 years of misery.”
‘विकास’ पूछ रहा है… उत्तर प्रदेश के ठोकीदार से त्रस्त जनता के लिए राहत का कोई उपाय है क्या? प्रदेश की जनता को भाजपा सरकार के दो साल संकट के सौ साल लग रहे हैं. #VikasPoochhRahaHai#UttarPradeshKaThokidaar#MahaParivartan
— Akhilesh Yadav (@yadavakhilesh) March 19, 2019
Meanwhile, the BJP has decided to make ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’ the theme of its election campaign. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, while addressing a press conference on Tuesday, said that PM Modi will address the people through 500 video conferences with the theme ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’ on 31 March.
Prasad said he congratulated the people of the country as, in a few days, millions associated with this ‘movement’. The minister and BJP leader said that “this has become a big mass movement”. These people include doctors, professional farmers and cleanliness staff, he said.
Some people have trouble with this, Prasad said, adding, “You hate Modi ji, but what was your problem? You could have become a watchman too!”
Prasad said, attacking Rahul Gandhi, “Those who are out on bail have trouble with the campaign. But I am a guard, too.”
Whose family and properties are being investigated are in trouble, Prasad said. “Those, including their family, who are facing legal action, who have something to hide have a problem (with this campaign).”
Prasad said, “They are saying that only the rich hire watchmen, the poor don’t. When they (Congress) were in power, they looted Rs 12 lakh crore from the public. That shows who needs a watchman and who does not.”
That’s why ‘Main bhi Chowkidar’
The Union minister said while “chowkidar” is now an election campaign, PM Modi had used the term to describe himself even in 2014. Prasad said, “Why did Prime Minister start this? Remember, when elections were going on in 2014, what was the situation of the country? India’s condition was poor on the economic front. A corruption-free policy was needed, the image was bad. Because of 2G, Colgate and submarine scandals, Modi had said during the campaign that he would be the Prime Minister of India as a watchman, Prasad said.
Two million tweets with #MainBhiChowkidar
Ravishankar Prasad said that this campaign was among global trends on Twitter.
- Two million people tweeted with the hashtag #MainBhiChowkidar and prefixed their names with “Chowkidar” on Twitter and Facebook
- The tweets got 1680 crore impressions
- 10 million people have taken the oath to guard the wealth of the nation on social media and the NaMo app by calling themselves chowkidars.
- 1 crore people watched the campaign video on all platforms.
Ask Rahul a question, be packed off to jail
Prasad attacked Rahul Gandhi directly for allegedly arresting those working with some tech firms in Bangalore. He said, “In Bengaluru, some people were arrested for asking questions (to the Congress president).”
“Two years ago, Rahul took the side of the tukde gang (a reference to JNU students who had vowed to break India into pieces),” Prasad said.
“On the other hand,” Prasad continued, “IT professionals who oppose him are imprisoned. And his sister (Priyanka Gandhi-Vadra) and he have the gall to accuse us of muzzling free speech.”
“Not us but Rahul Gandhi needs to learn a lot,” Prasad said.