Editorial: Why Modi’s ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ Campaign is Lame As The 5 Years of BJP Rule
It is a testimony to the fact that his tenure is nothing but brief flashes of pointless gimmicks, empty promises and dangerous half-measures.
The five years of Narendra Modi’s tenure are almost over with not much to show. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, which came to power on the promise of progress and development, and selling the image of the prime minister as a strongman of extremely humble roots, has its reputation in tatters today. The promise of “achhe din” is now the punchline of jokes that neither elicit laughter nor tears. The hope that was copiously peddled has wilted and died. A climate of fear and hate prevails over all discussions on how the government has fared.
With less than a month ago for the general elections, the fact that the prime minister of the country has had to prefix his Twitter handle with the word “chowkidar”, which led senior BJP leaders to follow suit, is testimony to the fact that his tenure is nothing but brief flashes of pointless gimmicks, empty promises and dangerous half-measures. To use this to drum up support for himself and the work of his government is an oblique admission that it has achieved very little and needs excuses to cover up this.
The “chowkidar” Twitter catchphrase campaign is a result of Congress party president Rahul Gandhi’s jibe “chowkidar chor hai”. Almost a week ago, the BJP launched the “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign, which showed the PM standing with a range of people guarding their homes. “Your chowkidar is standing firm and serving the nation. But, I am not alone. Everyone who is fighting corruption, dirt, social evils is a chowkidar. Everyone working hard for the progress of India is a chowkidar. Today, every Indian is saying ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’.”
From setting up a staged and scripted interaction with chowkidars to selling merchandise branded with the catchphrase on the NaMo app, the BJP is hellbent to make us believe that Narendra Modi is the sole guardian of India’s interests.
The very exercise is cruelly ironic. Chowkidars in this nation are mostly employed by the affluent to guard their residents against being robbed and looted from people of their own class. These watchmen live in tiny wooden huts lodged outside the homes of the rich and privileged and are required to keep vigil while their employers sleep a good night’s rest. They are the people who sit outside banks and ATMs, offices, institutions, malls and shops, and also the ones who sit at the mouths of gated colonies armed with a whistle, lathi and register book. They lead bleak, nocturnal lives braving extreme weather conditions to eke out a living. To appropriate their work to sway the electorate seems desperately hollow and insincere.
Neither is Narendra Modi the proverbial proficient watchman of this country nor is he a suitable prime minister. Under his tenure, the country has seen communal harmony disrupted, and hate crimes surge, while the economy has been devastatingly impacted with unwitting measures like demonetisation. The country has not only been pushed to war, but it has also been, on several occasions, left weak, arrogant and vulnerable. The government has made it an open mission to attack people of the country on the lines of identity, view and religion. It has allowed fraudsters to escape India, while robbed the livelihoods of farmers.
Until Narendra Modi does not come clean on why the prime minister’s office was involved waist-deep in the Rafale aircraft deal, he cannot be trusted with serving the nation’s interests. In a democracy, it is fair and essential to question the decision of the government without it being seen as an attack on the idea of India. By adopting the moniker of “chowkidar” Modi has shown that he’s neither fit to govern nor guard the interest of India.