Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign projecting himself as a chowkidar (watchman) got a boost after fugitive businessman Nirav Modi was arrested in London. Hours after his arrest, PM Modi held a radio interaction with security guards from across the country and said, “My work is to be alert 24X7 like you.”
In his radio address on Wednesday, PM Modi identified his role with that of a security guard in preventing “any wrong” from happening. This comes amid initial success of India’s efforts to have Nirav Modi extradited from the UK.
Nirav Modi had been evading the authorities since February last year. He was arrested in London by the Scotland Yard on Tuesday on India’s request for his extradition made in August last year. Nirava Modi is wanted in Rs 14,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud.
PM Narendra Modi also targeted the Congress party over its slogan, ‘chowkidar chor hai’ in its campaign against the BJP-led government. Chowkidar is the flavour of the season, said PM Modi referring to BJP’s counter-campaign, “Main Bhi Chowkidar” on social media.
PM Modi, in his radio address, said, “Everyone is talking about chowkidar. The entire nation is taking a pledge to be a chowkidar today…Calling a chowkidar chor repeatedly is an insult to all chowkidars.”
Without taking name of any party or opposition leader, the prime minister attacked Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who has used slogan, “chowkidar chor hai” (the watchman is a thief) to target him.
Watch: Opinion I Nirav Modi arrested: Boost for Modi’s ‘chowkidar’ campaign?
“I want to apologise as some people in last few months for their vested interests have run a disinformation campaign against ‘chowkidars’. It is unfortunate that language of these people has hurt you,” said PM Modi responding to a question put to him by a participant.
“We have to make great progress. We have to make our children doctor, engineer, soldiers in the army, and also the prime minister of the country. But we have to keep the ‘samskar’ (defining attribute) of a chowkidar in our children,” he said in an apparent reference to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s jibe at “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign of the BJP.
Earlier in the day, Kejriwal had tweeted asking people to vote for the BJP only if they want to make their children chowkidar and not doctors or engineers.
He was addressing 25 lakh chowkidars (watchmen) across the country via radio conferencing. The prime minister, who changed his twitter handle to Chowkidar Narendra Modi two days ago, has referred to himself as a ‘chowkidar’ (watchman) at various election rallies.
Less than a week ago, he had taken to Twitter to launch the BJP’s “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign inviting the common people to participate in it and be vigilant. As part of the campaign, most of BJP leaders changed their Twitter handles adding “Chowkidar” to their names.
In his rallies, PM Modi has referred to himself as chowkidar promising to provide a corruption-free government.
On the other hand, the Congress has picked on the keyword and come up with its own slogan of “chowkidar chor hai”. Gandhi has, at numerous rallies, referred to slogan alleging malfeasance in the Rafale deal.
Gandhi has alleged that PM Modi scrapped the UPA-negotiated Rafale deal with France in order to benefit industrialist Anil Ambani, whose firm is an offset partner of the Dassault Aviation, the manufacturer of the fighter jet.
India signed an intergovernmental agreement with France in 2016 for the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets in flyaway condition for about Rs 59,000 crore.
Mar 20, 2019 17:04 IST
‘Am 24×7 chowkidar’, says PM after fugitive Nirav Modi’s arrest in London – Hindustan Times