‘Chowkidar Narendra Modi’ kicks off polls campaign


NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi launched his party’s “Main Bhi Chowkidar (I am a watchman too)” campaign ahead of the national election that begins next month on Saturday.

This morning, the Indian PM led the way, adding “Chowkidar” to his name in the twitter handle. Within an hour, his party chief Amit Shah and a number of union and state ministers followed suit.

By evening, virtually the whole of his cabinet and the party followed suit. Modi tweeted, congratulating the converts. “My best wishes to all you chowkidars. Very pleased with your enthusiasm. Owing to your watchfulness corruption is on the wane and thieves are feeling the pain,” his post read.

Starting with the campaign for the 2014 national elections, Modi had, from time to time, called himself a “chowkidar” (watchman), referring to his role in protecting the national interest.

But the Congress has turned it into a jibe with its “Chowkidar chor hai (the watchman is a thief)” campaign, accusing Modi of corruption and crony capitalism in the Rafale jet fighter deal.

Yesterday, the Modi turned it into a nationwide campaign, asserting that not only he, anyone “working hard for the progress of India” was a “chowkidar”.

He also posted a video on Twitter:

So far, Union Ministers Piyush Goyal, JP Nadda, Harsh Vardhan and Dharmendra Pradhan have also followed their leaders in changing their names on Twitter accounts. The Prime Minister retweeted many of their messages today.

The chowkidar campaign led to another round of social media skirmish between the BJP and the Congress. As some of Modi’s tweets went to fake accounts – one of them in the name of fugitive diamond trader Nirav Modi – the Congress jeered.

Modi has been returning Mr Gandhi’s barbs. He said in a January rally that a “chor” or thief always wants to remove “chowkidar” from his way, in an apparent retort to Mr Gandhi.