Modi’s Social Media Cleanup after ‘Modi Ka Parivar’ Hate Posts Against Fellow Hindus After Elections?

BJP's online hate brigade turns on Hindu electorate after party's poll setback 

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Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P Chacko
Joseph P. Chacko is the publisher of Frontier India. He holds an M.B.A in International Business. Books: Author: Foxtrot to Arihant: The Story of Indian Navy's Submarine Arm; Co Author : Warring Navies - India and Pakistan. *views are Personal

In a plea made on June 11, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked his followers on X to remove the phrase “Modi ka Parivar” (which translates to “Modi’s family”) from their display names on social media devices. Before I get started, allow me to provide you with some context.

The “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign was a hugely successful social media blitz by the BJP ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

It started after Rahul Gandhi, the then-party president of the Indian National Congress (INC), highlighted the alleged scam in the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets by PM Narendra Modi. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that he was the Chowkidaar (watchman) of the nation, Rahul Gandhi leveraged it to coin the slogan Chowkidar hi Chor Hai. (Watchman is the thief)”. “Chowkidar hi Chor Hai is the second successful slogan by Rahul Gandhi against Modi after “Suit Book Ki Sarkaar” (Government of suit and boot).

To refresh your collective memories, in 2015, the Suit Book Ki Sarkaar slogan led Modi, then at his peak popularity, to ditch his luxury apparel, particularly a suit estimated to be worth around USD 12000 (Rs 10 lakhs). The suit was a bespoke bandh gala outfit made by an Indian designer named Jade Blu from Ahmedabad. It prominently featured Modi’s full name, “Narendra Damodardas Modi,” woven into the pinstripes using golden threads. However, that didn’t stop Modi from being called India’s own Imelda Marcos. Imelda Marcos, wife of the late Philipines dictator Ferdinand Marcos, famously owned thousands of designer shoes. Just like Imelda’s shoes, Modi’s clothing choices have become emblems used by his critics to portray him as out-of-touch with the struggles of ordinary Indians.

Unlike adopting a defensive stance in response to the Suit Boot Ki Sarkar narrative, the BJP transformed the Mein Bhi Chowkidaar slogan into a self-identifying phrase and launched a large-scale social media campaign. Millions of BJP supporters and Modi fans added the “Main Bhi Chowkida” prefix (or suffix) to their names across platforms like Twitter, Facebook etc. This created an impression of a grassroots people’s movement backing Modi. The BJP leveraged technologies like Twitter bots, WhatsApp forwards, memes, etc., to amplify the “Main Bhi Chowkidar” messaging rapidly across India.

The campaign went beyond social media, with “Main Bhi Chowkidar” merchandise like T-shirts, caps, and stickers being widely sold and used. This helped the BJP construct a counternarrative portraying the opposition’s criticism of Modi as an “attack on the watchman of the people.”

Despite complaints of social media manipulation, the sheer decentralized scale made “Main Bhi Chowkidar” a viral phenomenon rarely seen in Indian elections before 2019. It demonstrated the BJP’s ability to propagate campaigns through digital channels rapidly.

This brings me to the topic at hand. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP have frequently accused opposition parties, particularly the Congress, of promoting ‘parivarvad,’ a term that refers to the alleged continuation of political dynasties within the same family.  This accusation forms a key part of the BJP’s narrative, contrasting Modi’s rise through the party ranks based on merit with the perceived family privileges of other politicians.

This plank was used in both the 2014 and 2019 elections. During the 2024 elections, opposing parties went on the offensive. They reasoned that Modi’s BJP also engaged in dynastic politics. Akhilesh Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, which gained huge in recent elections and pushed Modi’s party back, argued that the BJP should not solicit votes from Indians with families.

Things came to a head when Lalu Prasad Yadav, the president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and a former chief minister of Bihar, responded to Modi’s comments on “dynastic politics” with a retort that targeted his single status. Through the media, he asked Modi, “Brother, why don’t you first tell us why you don’t have any children in your family?” Ministers and members of the BJP began adding the tag “Modi ka Parivar” to their profiles to counteract the situation.

The objective of the “Modi Ka Parivaar” campaign was to draw attention to the inclusive politics of the BJP and to appeal to various caste groups by portraying Modi as a patriarch figure who brings people together. The formidable social media structure of the BJP ensured that the “Modi Ka Parivaar” campaign continued to be actively promoted across many platforms in the run-up to the elections in 2024. Compared to the organic virality and widespread adoption of “Main Bhi Chowkidar” by the Prime Minister’s supporters in 2019, “Modi Ka Parivaar” did not achieve the same level of success despite attracting some attention.

A face-saving spin has been given to the request that Modi has made, which is to ask his supporters to remove the phrase from their social media. Nevertheless, I would want to bring up an intriguing topic.

Most social media handles sporting the phrase are also a part of the BJP’s infamous IT Cell, which sprouts hate posts on other religions, liberal Hindus, disagreeing foreigners, and, of course, political ‘enemies.’

Almost immediately after Modi led BJP’s poor performance in the general elections, the handles with Modi Ka Parivar began an abusive campaign that targeted Hindus as well as the inhabitants of Ayodhya, who had defeated the party candidate despite the construction of Ram Mandir in the area.

Modi or even RSS supremo Mohan Bhagwat has not condemned these attacks. However, the fact that Modi Ka Parivar is insulting Hindus is a poor public relations strategy for the BJP, which takes pride in being the guardian of Hindus.

The time for the nation, irrespective of their religion, caste, or ideologies, to address these atrocities has long passed; however, it is never too late. Let us bring back Maa Saraswathi to main discourse.


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