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Main Bhi Chowkidar to Modi Ka Parivar: How the anti-Modi brigade’s personal attacks have contributed significantly to the Modi phenomenon

10 years into the Modi government, the opposition is still floundering trying to mount a credible campaign against the BJP. Their pathological hatred of a man has blinded their judgment as they continue to hurl ad hominems and petty personal attacks against the Prime Minister.

Nobody supports Narendra Modi more than his opponents. During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Rahul Gandhi used the vile ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ jibe to malign PM Modi, but the political genius turned it to his favour, resulting in the ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ wave. In a deja-vu scenario, Lalu Yadav has taken the lead and attacked Prime Minister Modi over his family/Parivar. This time, PM Modi, displaying his political prowess, used the slur to further cement his bond with the people of Bharat, whom he considers family. Thus, the “Modi Ka Parivar” campaign emerged as a tight slap to those who resort to personal attacks against Modi instead of opposing him for his policies.

From senior BJP leaders, and party workers to supporters, social media is flooded with people proudly calling themselves the family of Narendra Modi, the leader they love, the leader they trust, the leader they vote for. This came after PM Modi today said, “140 crore countrymen are my family. Today, crores of daughters, mothers and sisters of the country are Modi’s family. Every poor person in the country is my family. “Those who have no one, they also belong to Modi and Modi belongs to them. My India-My family, with the expansion of these feelings, I am living for you, fighting for you and will continue to fight for you, to fulfill my dreams with determination.”

No politician ever has enjoyed such deep, emotional, protective and assertive admiration from people as Narendra Modi does. What sets him apart even in the age of social media, where every big leader is subject to constant trolling and slandering, how Modi manages to turn every abuse hurled at him as the ‘Vijay Tilak’ on his forehead?

Chowkidar to Parivar: Modi loves Bharat, Bharat loves Modi

It is interesting to note that this is not the first time that the anti-Modi leaders have attempted to tarnish PM Modi’s image. It is also not the first time that their malicious jibes have backfired.

In the lead-up to the 2019 elections, Congress scion Rahul Gandhi frequently lied about the Rafale deal at all of his rallies, mocking Prime Minister Modi with the phrase ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’. Soon after, BJP supporters online began prefixing their names with ‘Chowkidar’. The campaign was started by Surat-based businessman ‘Mr Sinha.’ When it became trending on social media, the BJP leaders also began following suit.

While Congress, other opposition parties and the anti-Modi lobby left no stone unturned to project Narendra Modi as ‘corrupt’, not only the Supreme Court but also the people of India outrightly rejected Rahul Gandhi’s apocryphal narrative and gave a historic victory to Modi. It is worth recalling that in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP won 303 seats with NDA getting 352 seats. Interestingly, the BJP and NDA not only managed to increase their seats but also widened their vote share. According to the data, BJP recorded a vote share of around 37% while NDA as a whole received around 45% of the votes in 2019, making it the highest vote share received since 1980.

This time, the I.N.D.I Alliance member and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav tried to target Modi over his biggest strong point. PM Modi has been an unabashedly proud Hindu. A large section of Hindus have this quality of Modi and consider him as one of their own. This means a lot for the Hindus who have over the years seen governments, and leaders relentlessly trying to suppress Hindus, appease the religious ‘minority’, guilt-trip the Hindus and yet seek votes from them. However, since 2014, the winds have changed. Lalu Yadav who once vowed to answer the ‘Trishul’ with ‘Lathis’ now has the audacity to attack Modi over his Hindu credentials.

“(Modi) keeps bragging about the Ram temple. He is not even a true Hindu. In Hindu tradition, a son must shave his head and beard after the death of his parents. Modi did not do so when his mother died,” Lalu Yadav recently said in an apparent attempt to project Modi as someone not a true Hindu but a ‘political Hindu’.

As Lalu mentioned Ram Mandir, it is pertinent to recall that the nation witnessed how, during his 11-day fast, PM Modi, as “prateekatmak yajman,” adhered to strict rituals such as sleeping on the floor and drinking coconut water, not taking salt, and feeding cows (gau seva) in preparation for the ‘Pran Pratishtha‘ of Ram Lalla at his rightful abode in Ayodhya.

Ironically, the anti-Modi leaders have learned nothing from the ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ fiasco and have continued to resort to below-the-belt personal attacks on PM Modi. Recently, Rahul Gandhi had attacked Prime Minister Modi over his caste and claimed that PM Modi lied about his OBC caste saying that he is not an OBC by birth and later included his caste in the OBC list. However, as we factchecked Rahul Gandhi’s claim, it turned out that the Gandhi scion was himself telling a lie since it was his own parties government in Gujarat and in Centre when Modi’s Modh Ghanchi caste was notified in the OBC list in 1994, many years before Modi became Gujarat’s Chief Minister.

Interestingly, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also been a target of the opposition’s similar personal attacks, be it mocking him for his saffron attire to calling him by his birth name “Ajay Singh Bisht” despite him becoming a Sanyasi.

During the run-up to the 2014 elections, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had taken a dig at Prime Minister Modi’s humble beginning as a tea seller and said that Modi can distribute tea but can never be the Prime Minister. Modi had then converted that remark as a badge of honour and held ‘Chai Pe Charcha’, discussion forums over tea across the nation as a way to connect directly to voters.

Years later, notorious for his controversial remark Aiyar doubled down his attack on Modi and in December 2017, called PM Modi a “neech kisam ka aadmi” ahead of the Gujarat Assembly election. “Ye bahut hi neech kisam ka aadmi hai, is mein koi sabhyata nahi hai…” Aiyar said. In a damage control move, Congress’s Prince Rahul Gandhi had tried to distance himself from Aiyar’s casteist remark against PM Modi and “expected” an apology from him.

It is worth recalling that during the Gujarat assembly elections in 2017, PM Modi had strongly reacted to Mani Shankar Aiyar’s ‘neech’ jibe and it changed the game for BJP since then Congress has lost whatever little ground it was gaining in Gujarat.

“You [crowd] tell me if I am a neech because I was born in a poor family? I was born in a backward class is that why I am a neech? Or because I am a Gujarati that’s why I am a neech? You tell me, what wrong have I done to the country to be called a neech? This is not the first time that Congress leaders have called Modi neech,” Modi said.

In September last year, Haryana Congress president Udai Bhan called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a “R**dwa” while implying that PM Modi killed his wife alive. The Congress leader said that the “R**dwa” who killed his wife even as she is alive is ruling at the centre. 

The opposition leaders have called PM Modi as neech, Asur, Hitler, Kutte ki maut marega and what not, however, he turns their “Gaalis” into “Ashirwad” and never stoops down to their level merely to give it back. Narendra Modi leaves it to his “Parivar”, the people of Bharat to respond aptly with their vote. Interestingly, During his speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on the occasion of 76th Republic Day Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the people of Bharat as ‘parivarjano (family members)’, now the opposition has literally prompted the citizens of Bharat to embrace their family member. As PM Modi aims for “Abki Baar 400 Paar”, there is no better slogan or campaign than the people proclaiming that they are “Modi Ka Parivar”.

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