Priyanka Gandhi's Dig At PM, "The Rich Have Chowkidar, Farmers Don't"

Priyanka Gandhi

Priyanka Gandhi's Dig At PM, "The Rich Have Chowkidar, Farmers Don't"

New Delhi: On the first day of boat-ride on river Ganga, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's attacked PM Modi for his "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign. She said, "Chowkidars are for the rich, not farmers," taking a dig at the campaign that had most BJP leaders adopting the prefix "Chowkidar" or watchman on Twitter.

During the three-day boat campaign, the Congress leader, will travel from Prayagraj to Varanasi while making stops at various places in between. Priyanka Gandhi remarked, "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."

The word "Chowkidaar" had caught up after PM Modi called himself a "chowkidar" protecting national interest, during the campaign for the 2014 national elections. However, the Congress party had turned it into a jibe with its "Chowkidar chor hai" campaign, accusing the Prime Minister of corruption and crony capitalism in the Rafale jet fighter deal.

PM 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 the BJP's fightback after Congress president Rahul Gandhi - Priyanka Gandhi's older brother -- repeatedly mocked the Prime Minister's use of the phrase chowkidar" (watchman) to describe his fight against corruption. Rahul Gandhi has repeatedly said, "Chowkidar chor hai (the watchman is a thief)," in his rallies and press meets, accusing the Prime Minister 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".

"Your Chowkidar is standing firm and 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," he tweeted.

Addressing another gathering, Priyanka Gandhi 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 people that we exist. There can be no Priyanka Gandhi without you people," she told people near Dumduma Ghat.

The Congress is banking on Priyanka Gandhi's campaign to reclaim lost ground in Uttar Pradesh, where it has been irrelevant for years. The party's rout in the 2014 national election was exacerbated by its poor haul in Uttar Pradesh, India's most politically vital state with the most number of seats (80). On the other hand, the BJP scored 71 seats - two more with its allies - and this formed the lion's share of its spectacular mandate.