Modi’s Chowkidar Gimmick “A Reminder of Demonetisation Disaster”?
Internal report worries BJP spin-masters.
Stung by Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s attack on the Rafale scam with the popular slogan ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ which found a massive resonance in recent public rallies, PM Narendra Modi has attempted to deflect the corruption charge by asking everyone to proclaim that he or she is a chowkidar.
But the gimmick of ministers tweeting a hashtag and then changing their Twitter handles has reminded the people of the demonetisation disaster where ministers were supporting Modi’s decision with bizarre excuses while the people were suffering, as per official sources who are privy to a report of a top official agency.
Highly-placed sources told NewsCentral24X7 that “a report with its assessment of the impact of the gimmick on the masses was submitted by the agency on Sunday evening after two days of extensive activity by BJP” on the social media. The report explicitly mentions the response of the ministers, and goes on to state that the bizarreness of the whole gimmick “has reminded the people of demonetization”. Modi has been trying to live down the demonetization disaster which brought the economy to a halt, making people suffer heavily. A reminder to that disaster would be a nightmare for Modi, with elections barely days away.
The BJP government has been known to use agencies, both government and private to get for itself real-time responses to various campaigns it runs on social media. Sources, refusing to reveal their identity said that this most recent report is likely to make the BJP defensive and the campaign may well “be allowed to slowly be forgotten.”
Modi’s Chowkidar gimmick was a brainchild of Modi’s social media team, hoping to turn Gandhi’s potent attack into a failure. But the gimmick – based on automated bots – failed to garner much traction even on social media, and ended up becoming a butt of jokes.
The Bot pushing the campaign, got lampooned on social media when it tweeted to a parody account of Nirav Modi and also to other known parody accounts, such as ModiLeDubega. The Nirav Modi parody tweet was soon deleted by the PM’s social media managers, but not before a screenshot had become viral.
On Sunday, when union ministers and BJP leaders prefixed their Twitter handles with Chowkidar, they again faced ridicule for trivialising a serious issue like corruption. The use of the prefix in fact reminded people of the various scams each of these ministers and leaders were involved in – from Amit Shah’s son’s burgeoning wealth to Smriti Irani’s MPLADS scam to Piyush Goyal’s company sale profits. Contrary to Modi’s expectations, this made Gandhi’s attack look even more credible and powerful.
BJP especially since Modi-Shah took charge as the captain of the Publicity and PR, has always been a controlled affair. But recently, this campaign has not taken off and the website too has gone down and has been down for the 12th consecutive day. No easy days in Acche Din.