In a veiled attack on opposition parties for raising questions over the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) targeted strike against terrorists in Balakot, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Wednesday the attack took place in Pakistan but the trouble was felt in India by the “tukde-tukde gang.
Interacting with around 25 lakh security guards via audio bridge technology, as part of his campaign “Mai Bhi Chowkidar” ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, Modi hit out at Congress President Rahul Gandhi for his “Chowkidar Chor Hai” (watchman is the thief) jibe, saying some people in the last few months have run a disinformation campaign against “chowkidars” for their “vested interests”.
“The country is taken aback by the opposition parties’s attitude. Those who support the ‘tukde-tukde gang’ are not able to digest that our forces dropped bombs in Pakistan. Bomb was dropped in Pakistan, Pakistanis got hurt but they are shouting here in Hindustan,” the Prime Minister said.
“Vaar Pakistan par hua aur bimar koi Hindustan me hua (the attack took place in Pakistan, but pain was felt in India by some). We need to identify such people,” he said.
Modi said the entire nation was proud of the armed forces and their strong decisive action against the perpetrators of the Pulwama terror attack that killed 40 CRPF troopers on February 14.
“The nation will never forgive the opposition parties for their misinformation campaign,” he said, adding the words of opposition members here are being heard in radio and published in newspapers there (Pakistan), even in their Parliament.
The Prime Minister slammed the opposition, specially the Congress, for defaming the watchmen with their “Chowkidar Chor Hai” slogan and raised apprehensions that the opposition parties would continue with their misinformation campaign to target him.
“I want to apologise as some people in the last few months have been abusing watchmen by saying ‘Chowkidar Chor Hai’ for their vested interests. By doing this, they have questioned the dedication and honesty of ‘chowkidars’,” Modi said.
“If he (Rahul) abused me by taking my name, it could not have caused damage to you. But he doesn’t have the courage to do so. It’s unfortunate that such abuses by the opposition are hurting you. They are not going to stop here. They will try to find new ways to defame the chowkidar,” he said.
The Prime Minister said this was not for the first time that he was abused. “This has been in the nature of ‘naamdars’. It is the habbit of ‘naamdars’ to spread hatred against ‘kamdars’ as they can’t accept them,” he said, adding the country was proud of chowkidars.
Modi said he was not deterred by the abuses of the opposition, which he converted into appreciations. “I turn every abuse into ornament,” he said urging the security guards to not be afraid of anyone.
Wishing them a happy and colourful Holi, the Prime Minister said chowkidars played an important role in making the colours look beautiful. Saluting the exceptional work done by them, Modi said he was proud to celebrate Holi with them. Every Indian was now saying “I am also a chowkidar,” he added.
Modi said watchmen were inspiring everyone to fight all kinds of evils in the country, and urged everyone to keep a chowkidar alive inside them.
During the interaction, the Prime Minister also mentioned the various reforms initiated by the government for the welfare of the poor such as the Ayushman Bharat, Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana and Jan Dhan Yojana.