Congress and BJP exchanged jibes over BJP's #MainBhiChowkidar Campaign. (File)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Main Bhi Chowkidar (I am a watchman too)" campaign on Saturday triggered a new round of bickering between India's two main parties on Twitter. While the Congress targeted the BJP for allegedly flooding social media with indiscriminate, automated messages, leading to unintended results on more than one occasion, the BJP hit back by accusing the opposition party of "dishonesty and deceit".
It all began when the BJP sent out tweets on its campaign, some of which seemingly went to accounts that were -- in reality -- created for heckling PM Modi on social media. According to a Congress post, one of the tweets went to an account titled @AmbaniKaChela (translating to "Ambani's Stooge"), and another to a fake account of fugitive businessman Nirav Modi. The BJP even seemed to have received a response from the imposter, reading "Sir loan maaf karwao sara (please waive off all my loans)".
The Congress post was captioned: "It's great to see that Modi is still in touch with his buddies."
The BJP, in response, alleged that the images in the Congress tweet were digitally altered. "Dear @INCIndia, Dishonesty, deceit, photoshopped images and fake news is your identity. For decades, your leaders have used those techniques to loot, plunder and ruin India. It is against this Congress culture that India stands vigilant and says #MainBhiChowkidar," it tweeted.
The Congress replied with a sarcasm-laced tweet. "Dear BJP, We're sorry your campaign backfired. We sympathise with your pain & frustration. Maybe you should make an effort to be real than rely on bots. Feel hugged. Love, From the party that fought for your freedom," it tweeted with the tagline #EkHiChowkidarChorHai. The party has often accused the BJP of using automated accounts -- or bots -- to give the illusion of popularity on social media.
The Congress has accused the Narendra Modi government of showing undue favour to industrialist Anil Ambani in the Rafale fighter jet deal with the French government, and helping fugitive businessmen such as Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksey and Vijay Mally escape the country after scamming Indian banks. "Important message to Modi: India is not foolish. Everybody knows that you are the one and only chowkidar (watchman) who favours suits and boots," the party had tweeted in response to the "Main Bhi Chowkidar" campaign earlier today.