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Business News/ Politics / News/  ‘Modi Ka Parivar’: From ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ to ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’, how BJP weaponises Opposition jibes at PM Modi
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‘Modi Ka Parivar’: From ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ to ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’, how BJP weaponises Opposition jibes at PM Modi

In the past, the party has mastered the art of weaponising personal attacks and jibes at Narendra Modi, first as Gujarat Chief Minister and then as Prime Minister, employing it as a successful campaign strategy during poll seasons

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a visit to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), in Thiruvananthapuram, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (PTI)Premium
Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during a visit to Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), in Thiruvananthapuram, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024. (PTI)

Top Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders rallied on March 4 around Prime Minister Narendra Modi while countering Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s ‘No Parivar’ jibe, with the whole country is ‘Modi ka Parivar’ slogan.

Union Ministers, chief ministers and party leaders added, “Modi ka Parivar (Modi’s family)" to their social media handles soon after PM Modi said at a rally in Telangana’s Adilabad that the people of the country love him like a “member" of their family.

“And that is why I say 140 crore people of this country are my family... Crores of daughters, mothers and sisters… all the poor people in the country....are my family. The children and elderly in the country are Modi’s family. Those who have no one, belong to Modi and Modi belongs to them. My Bharat, my family," Modi said at the rally in Adilabad.

PM Modi’s comments about his ‘family’ were seen as a counter to Lalu Prasad Yadav’s comment made at the Opposition INDIA bloc’s ‘Jan Vishwas Maha Rally in Patna a day before, “Modi keeps talking about pariwarwaad (dynastic politics). What can we do if Narendra Modi does not have a parivar (family) of his own?," the former Bihar Chief Minister said.

PM Modi’s counter to Lalu Yadav at the Adilabad rally was followed by a social media campaign with top leaders including Home Minister Amit Shah, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, BJP Chief J P Nadda and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, adding “Modi ka Parivar" suffix to their names on X (formerly Twitter). The campaign trended throughout the day on March 3.

Also Read:Modi a self-proclaimed Vishwaguru’, Jairam Ramesh on PM’s ‘140 crore Indians are my family’ remark

The BJP’s counterattack ahead of the2024 Lok Sabha campaign is not the first such campaign. In fact, the party has mastered the art of weaponising personal attacks and jibes against Narendra Modi, first as Gujarat Chief Minister and then as Prime Minister, as a successful poll campaign strategy.

'Main Bhi Chowkidar' of 2019

The ‘Modi Ka Parivar’ in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election 2024 is on the lines of ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ slogans popularised by the BJP ahead of the 2019 general elections.

Then Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ had become the Opposition’s biggest poll campaign slogan against PM Modi over the alleged irregularities in the Rafale deal with France. In response, top BJP leaders had then added the ‘Chowkidar’ prefix to their social media handles to show solidarity with the PM, countering Rahul Gandhi’s ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ jibe. The BJP eventually swept the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

The ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ campaign of 2014

In the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections 2014, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar sparked a row when he claimed that Narendra Modi, then the BJP prime ministerial candidate, would never become the Prime Minister of India. “He could sell tea at a Congress conclave," the former Union Minister, Aiyar, said.

The ‘Chaiwala’ jibe, in turn, helped BJP project PM Modi as a leader who had risen from modest beginnings. Soon, the ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ campaign became a popular pre-poll campaign tool for the BJP. Narendra Modi led the BJP to an unprecedented victory at the Centre.

Three years later, Aiyar was at the centre of a row again when he called PM Modi a ‘neech kisim ka aadmi’ in the run-up to the 2017 Gujarat elections referring to PM Modi’s OBC caste. PM Modi and the BJP lost no time in converting the casteist personal attacks on him into a political campaign, with PM Modi calling it Aiyar’s ‘Muglai’ (elitist) mindset. The BJP unleashed a massive OBC outreach in the midst of raging Patidar agitation in the 2017 Gujarat Polls. Once again, the counter campaign yielded political dividends, and the BJP returned to power in Gujarat.

Sonia Gandhi's ‘Maut Ka Saudagar’ jibe in 2007

The Congress party was predicted to win the 2007 Gujarat assembly polls when United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in a poll rally, attacked the then Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, over the Gujarat riots of 2002. The Congress leader referred to Modi as “Maut Ka Saudagar" (merchant of death).

Chief Minister Modi smartly weaponised the attack against him and, in fact, turned it around against the Congress as a party, at the centre, that was shielding the perpetrators of the Parliament attack of 2001. The BJP won with a majority, bagging 117 of the 182 seats in the Gujarat Assembly.

So, will Lalu Yadav’s ‘No Parivar’ comment and the counter ‘Modi Ka Parivar’ campaign by the BJP also yield political dividends for the saffron party in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls? Only time will tell as the election season hots up.

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Published: 05 Mar 2024, 09:52 AM IST
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