'Chaiwala' Modi's Campaign Reaches Railways, Tea Served in 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' Cups
(This article has been updated with IRCTC's official statement on the matter.)
Lok Sabha Elections is around the corner, and major political parties are stepping up their campaign game.
While merchandise-ing for their own parties with their motto and slogans and symbols of parties may be usual, it is unlikely to find it on official government-sponsored products.
A special correspondent for News18, Payal Mehta, on Twitter, however, pointed out that Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation was providing tea in paper cups which had 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' on them.
'Main Bhi Chowkidar' was launched by the BJP on March 20, and focuses on how people from different walks are guarding the country against various ills. The BJP campaign was initiated to integrate various schemes launched by the Narendra Modi government in the last five years.
ऐ देश मेरे...तेरा मैं भी चौकीदार।प्रधानमंत्री जी के साथ जुड़िए, 31 मार्च को शाम 5 बजे। #MainBhiChowkidar pic.twitter.com/YhmhEE7J7S— BJP (@BJP4India) March 20, 2019
The cup also featured the tagline "Main bhi Chowkidar". Mehta said on Twitter that this cup was used to serve tea on the New Delhi Kathgodam Shatabdi Express. The cup reads, 'Aatankwaad se rashtra ki raksha kare (Protect my country from terrorism,) Sainiko ke samman ki raksha kare(Protect the dignity of my soldiers,) Rashtra ke gaurav ki raksha kare, (Protect the honour of my country.)
A colleague shares how #MainBhiChowkidar branding is being used on train.... Train No. 12040 #KathgodamShatabdi has tea served twice in these cups! Is this not violation of MCC??@RailMinIndia @SpokespersonECI @PiyushGoyal @ECISVEEP pic.twitter.com/hZjhCnUP9U — Payal Mehta/પાયલ મેહતા/ पायल मेहता/ পাযেল মেহতা (@payalmehta100) March 29, 2019
The Indian Railways Seva replied to her tweeting saying that they were looking into the matter.
Sorry for inconvenience, kindly provide your journey details and PNR no for taking further necessary action in the matter.— IRCTC North Zone (@irctcnorthzone) March 29, 2019
Following this, the user posted that it was confirmed that it was served, and moreover the slogan was part of a paid advert.
Now it's being confirmed by @RailMinIndia that the glasses were used today. Action will be taken against the contractors & also this was a paid advert... pic.twitter.com/QLpbPLMK0v — Payal Mehta/પાયલ મેહતા/ पायल मेहता/ পাযেল মেহতা (@payalmehta100) March 29, 2019
In an official statement later, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) clarified that no prior permission had been taken for printing by the licensee.
"The space in cups and other such materials is used for paid publicity by the licensees as per the agreement. The licensees are supposed to take prior permission for printing advertisements from IRCTC. However in this case no such approval has been taken," the statement read.
"These lapses were overlooked by the on-board supervisory staff/pantry in-charges. Explanation has been called for, from the on-board supervisory staff/pantry in-charges for carelessness," it further added.
IRCTC also informed that only a few cups with "main bhi chowkidar" were used on Friday for a "very short period" of time.
The BJP has also given those in the video saffron colored ‘main bhi chowkidar’ caps, similar to the ‘Make America Great Again’ caps used in the 2016 Presidential campaign.
The intensity of the BJP campaign is a counter for repeatedly attacking the PM with ‘chowkidar chor hai’ jibes.