With less than a month to go for the Lok Sabha elections, the simmering political heat wave has ignited social media. To add fuel to the fire, the ‘Chowkidar’ controversy has done the rest of the job.
‘Chowkidar’ was the top trending word in India for the last two days. Chowkidar, which means watchman, has become a sort of trend for the Modi supporters on Twitter.
Besides using hashtags #MainBhiChowkidar (I, too, am a watchman) and #ChowkidarPhirSe (watchman, once again) on Twitter, Twitterati also added ‘Chowkidar’ prefix to their names.
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had posted a tweet where he asked every Indian to be a ‘Chowkidar’ against corruption, social evils, and dirt. A day later, he added the ‘Chowkidar’ prefix to his name. Soon after, the BJP leaders and supporters also added the prefix to their names and tweeted using the hashtag #ChowkidarPhirSe.
PM Modi had portrayed himself as the ‘Chowkidar’ of the country when he was elected to power in 2014. The Congress party has since been trolling him. The party also accused the prime minister of being involved in the irregularities in the Rafale deal.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had been repeatedly using the term ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ (watchman is the thief) in most of his campaign rallies and speeches.
Twitter statistics show that both the hashtags #MainBhiChowkidar and #ChowkidarPhirSe ruled Twitter on Saturday (March 16) and Sunday (March 17).
The hashtag #ChowkidarChorHai was used by the Congress supporters, however, it couldn’t amplify on the social media platforms.
On the other hand, #MainBhiChowkidar received around 1.5 million mentions on Twitter, followed by #ChowkidarPhirSe with used for about 3,00,000 times. The #ChowkidarChorHai received hardly 1,63,000 mentions, which is almost 10 per cent of the number of times #MainBhiChowkidar got mentioned.
The tweet posted by the prime minister on Saturday was the most engaging tweet which had the hashtag #MainBhiChowkidar. PM Modi’s tweet received around 55,000 retweets and more than 1,50,000 likes.
Your Chowkidar is standing firm & serving the nation.
But, I am not alone.
Everyone who is fighting corruption, dirt, social evils is a Chowkidar.
Everyone working hard for the progress of India is a Chowkidar.
Today, every Indian is saying-#MainBhiChowkidar
— Chowkidar Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) March 16, 2019
BJP chief Amit Shah’s tweet showing a video of people being aware of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan was the most engaging tweet. The tweet also had this hashtag. Amit Shah’s tweet received 17,355 retweets and 61,558 likes.
— Chowkidar Amit Shah (@AmitShah) March 17, 2019
Rahul Gandhi responded to the Twitter trends on Sunday evening, saying, “You can keep trying Mr Modi, but the truth cannot be extinguished. Every Indian is saying it. #ChowkidarChorHai.” Rahul’s tweet received around 11,000 retweets and 37,000 likes.
You can keep trying Mr Modi, but the truth cannot be extinguished.
Every Indian is saying it. #ChowkidarChorHai
P.S: Do force Sushma ji to add Chowkidar to her handle. It’s looking very bad.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 17, 2019
VICTORY SANS CREATIVITY
The BJP leaders might have trumped the #ChowkidarChorHai narrative on Twitter, but one striking observation that emerged from the tweets following Modi’s #MainBhiChowkidar drive was that most of them were copied. Whatever the prime minister tweeted was copy-pasted by other BJP leaders without a single change, not even punctuation.
Due to automated responses, the prime minister’s Twitter handle even ended up thanking those who trolled the ‘Chowkidar’ movement.
PM Modi was thanking users for tweeting with the hashtag #MainBhiChowkidar from his personal handle. Among many others, the PM also ended up thanking a parody account of fugitive Nirav Modi on Twitter.