BENGALURU: A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the #MainBhiChowkidar social media campaign, leaders of the BJP took it to new levels on Sunday. The party leaders, including Union ministers and state unit office-bearers alike, added “Chowkidar” as a prefix to their social media username handles in an attempt to push the campaign to turn around Congress’ jibe against the Prime Minister.
State BJP president B S Yeddyurappa, Union ministers D V Sadananda Gowda, and Ananth Kumar Hegde, MPs Shobha Karandlaje, Pratap Simha, Prahlad Joshi etc took on a new identity — Chowkidar — with a prefix to their account names.
Party MLAs in the State followed suit despite severe mockery by the Congress and its supporters. “I am proud to join #MainBhiChowkidar movement. As a citizen who loves India, I shall do my best to defeat corruption, dirt, poverty & terrorism and help create a New India which is strong, secure & prosperous. (sic)” said a tweet on B S Yeddyurappa’s Twitter timeline. A host of BJP legislators like K S Eshwarappa, Suresh Kumar, Arvind Limbavali and Kota Srinivas Poojari added the prefix as well. The hashtag #ChowkidarPhirSe and #ChowkidarNarendraModi trended all day on Sunday even as Congress tried to counter it with their own #ModiWhereIsOurMoney campaign.
Most Twitter accounts followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal account had changed their name to accommodate “Chowkidar” as their handle names.
Lakhs of people had changed their account names to join the BJP’s campaign that deliberately targetted Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s jibe of “chowkidar chor hai” against PM Modi. The campaign is expected to reach more people in the run up to the Lok Sabha elections.
In the battle on social media, the BJP has managed to turn a jibe against Narendra Modi in its favour for the second time. The ‘chaiwallah’ jibe in 2014 had seen a similar wave in support of Modi.
Siddu under fire for ‘small thieves’ reference
Most leaders of the Congress mocked the “MainBhiChowkidar” campaign of the BJP but Congress leader Siddaramaiah came under fire specifically. “Thief impersonating as Policeman is the greatest tragedy of our times & an insult to the real ones. This disease is spreading to all the small thieves of our country who are trending #MainBhiChowkidar Wise people say, ‘The big thieves hang the little ones.’ #ChorHiChowkidar (sic),” Siddaramaiah tweeted on Saturday. His reference to ‘small thieves’ led to severe backlash from the BJP and its supporters.
“Calling citizens ‘chor’ for pledging support to @narendramodi shows the mental stability of loser. A man who wears Hublot watches, roams in imported cars, abolishes Lokayukta should look at the pond of corruption he himself is rotting in #GetWellSoon” (sic) tweeted BJP Karnataka social media handle in response. Siddaramaiah’s timeline was flooded with criticism by Modi supporters who claimed that the former had referred to the common citizens of this country as thieves.