By Aditya Aamir
Pro-Modi media are all over proclaiming the success of Narendra Modi’s ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign and in the current heat and dust over elections, even the Rafale fighter-jet is depicted as ‘Chowkidar Rafale’, its presence in the IAF inventory deterrence to keep enemy aircraft miles away from the LOC and the International Border.
Media supportive of BJP are beholden to deliver Modi a second term. And they have been at it for so long, any chance of a slip-up is unthinkable. The ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign was invented to blunt Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s highly potent and viral ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ war-cry which caught the imagination of those not satisfied with Modi’s performance in his first term, apprehensive of his motives.
And ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ reverberates only among the diehard Modi base. It has failed to convince the anti-Modi phalanx that considers Modi a “chor”; who hang on to the belief that Modi cannot be all that ‘Doodh Ka Dhula”. The ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign is limited largely to twitter. Nobody actually believes Modi was in conversation with “25 lakh chowkidars” the other day.
To be honest, many Indians were surprised that Modi was talking to housing society watchmen and security guards manning factory gates. The deeper, profound, meaning of ‘Chowkidar’ in the context Modi wanted to convey was lost in the exercise. The whole purpose behind the ‘Chowkidar’ tag was that everybody Indian is at heart a ‘Chowkidar’, whether a common man or a head honcho, sworn to safeguard the nation’s interest, guard against corruption.
But then, limiting it to uniformed watchmen, took the edge out of the campaign. The only guys seriously ‘chowkidar’ turned out to be Modi ministers and BJP MPs and MLAs, small-time BJP leaders with an axe to grind. For a week, there was Social Media buzz though mainstream Modi-supporting media are still on the job to create and maintain a stir. Television anchors, who lose sleep drumming Modi’s name every hour, day and night, themselves haven’t changed their twitter handles to reflect they too are ‘chowkidars.’
In any case, the elections are to elect Members of Parliament and not ‘chowkidars.’ The entire ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ thing is bizarre; the lexicon so out of place, it’s confounding. Truly, parents are not gaming their children to turn ‘chowkidar.’ If there are ‘chowkidar-jokes’, nobody is laughing.
The average ‘chowkidar’ doesn’t have to go through an elaborate hiring process and his salary is a pittance. Come to think of it, he leads a miserable life; always at beck and call, his life centred round apartment blocks and factory works. A set of uniform that fades under the sun and loses creased edge. The Indian chowkidar is hard-up for choices. He leads a mundane life. And he wouldn’t spot corruption from a mile away; much less fight.
Narendra Modi and his Government, right up to the end, haven’t stopped playing tricks on the people of India. People are worried about bread and butter issues and it is not as if Chowkidar Rafale will arrive over Indian skies and that will be the end of all the troubles people have to live through in their quest to keep belly-button and spindly back apart. Media made hype over ‘Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ is a hoax that will not take Indians anywhere.
Let’s hope the next man/woman chosen to guide India through ups and downs is a ‘Prime Minister’ and not a ‘Chowkidar’. Let General Elections 2019 see the election of a Prime Minister of India. The G-20 and other world forums invite a Prime Minister not a Pradhan Sevak or “Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ to their summits. POTUS Donald Trump and Merkel and Theresa May, Putin included, would not acknowledge a ‘Chowkidar’. They will in fact ask, “Chowkidar, Who?” All said and done, the “Mein Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign is a big flop.