The “MainBhiChowkidar” campaign has reduced the world’s largest democracy to a laughing stock. Thanks to Prime Minister’s ingenuity, India is now a land of chowkidars. Conceived and launched as a counter to Congress party’s “ChowkidarChorHai” jibe, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems to have relied on the catch-phrase to romp home. If addition of the word chowkidar as a prefix to Twitter handle names alone could win an election, then all is not right with that democracy. The chowkidar tag may not quite resonate with the country’s impoverished multitudes as the watchman or chowkidar is employed by the rich for protecting their wealth. If the Opposition succeeds in portraying Narendra Modi as the chowkidar for the rich, the BJP stands to lose.
The poor still outnumber the rich in our country. The BJP could have made a bigger claim — than being just a chowkidar — if it had convincingly established that the Rafale deal was not dubious. Instead, it has roped in actors, sportspersons, school children and soldiers to lend colour to the campaign video and make it appealing. It is not yet clear whether the BJP’s exhortation to make the “MainBhiChowkidar” campaign a people’s movement will help in Modi’s re-election. A chowkidar does not look like a good substitute to a chaiwala to tap the voters’ innate sympathy for weaker sections and recreate the Modi wave.
G David Milton, Maruthancode
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