A sour attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the order of the day as a Nationalist Congress Party candidate for the Lok Sabha polls in Maharashtra celebrated his birthday by cutting a cake with one of the opposition's most derisive slogans this election season.
The birthday cake for Anand Paranjpe, a candidate representing the Congress-NCP alliance candidate in the Thane constituency, read "desh ka chowkidar hi chor hai" (watchman of the country is the thief) in Hindi.
Championed by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, "Chowkidar Chor Hai" is one of the opposition's most contentious slogans unleashed before the ongoing national elections. Drawing from the Prime Minister's claim of being a "chowkidar" or watchman against corruption, the opposition has accused PM Modi of bending the rules in a deal for 36 French Rafale fighter jets. Denying any wrongdoing, the Prime Minister has countered the opposition onslaught with an equally caustic attack on Rahul Gandhi's father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1991.
Mr Paranjpe won the 2009 general elections from Kalyan Lok Sabha Constituency as a Shiv Sena candidate. In 2014, he left the Shiv Sena and contested the Lok Sabha elections on a NCP ticket against Shiv Sena leader Shrikant Shinde from Kalyan Constituency but lost the election.
A mechanical engineering graduate with a MBA degree, Mr Paranjpe has 14 criminal cases pending against him, according to his election affidavit.