On her first day of Ganga Yatra, Priyanka Gandhi took a jibe at PM Narendra Modi’s “Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign. "Chowkidars are for the rich, not farmers," she said while referring to most BJP members adding "Chowkidar" to their username on Twitter.
In the three-day boat campaign, the Congress leader is scheduled to travel from Prayagraj to Varanasi while stopping at various places in between.
"Yesterday I met with a group of farmers... The potato farmers of western UP. One of the farmers told me, chowkidars are for the rich. We farmers are our own chowkidars," Priyanka Gandhi remarked.
PM Modi was the first to add “Chowkidar” to his username on Twitter after launching his "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign pitching the ruling party as the country's main force fighting against corruption. Soon, other BJP leaders including Amit Shah and several others followed.
PM Narendra Modi tweeted:
"My best wishes to all you chowkidars. Very pleased with your enthusiasm. Owing to your watchfulness corruption is on the wane and thieves are feeling the pain."
The campaign is BJP's fightback after Congress president Rahul Gandhi repeatedly mocked the PM’s use of the phrase chowkidar" (watchman) to describe his fight against corruption.
Time and again, Gandhi used to say, "Chowkidar chor hai (the watchman is a thief)," in rallies and press meets accusing the PM of corruption and crony capitalism in the Rafale fighter jet deal.
The Prime Minister turned it into a nationwide campaign asserting that "anyone working hard for the progress of India" is a "chowkidar".
While addressing another rally, Priyanka Gandhi had alleged that the government was suppressing people. "This country is yours, this democracy is yours and even this politics is yours. It is only because of the people that we exist. There can be no Priyanka Gandhi without you people," she said.
UP is India’s most politically vital state with 80 seats. The party's rout in the 2014 elections was exacerbated by its poor haul. The party is now dependent on Gandhi’s campaign in UP to reclaim their lost ground in the state.