New Delhi, April 19: Despite the Election Commission's ban on Congress' 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' (Watchman is a thief) ad campaign, the party has asked its candidates to continue chanting the slogan at the rallies.
The media certification and inspection committee has already cancelled the advertisement after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) termed it as a personal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in his election rallies has often referred to himself as a "chowkidar", a watchman who is determined to safeguard Indians' interests.
It is notable that Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been attacking Prime Minister Modi with the "Chowkidar chor hai" slogan over the purchase of 36 Rafale fighter jets. Gandhi alleges that the Modi government canceled Congress government's cheap deal and purchased the fighter jets at a higher price just to help businessman Anil Ambani.
Anil Ambani's Reliance Group is the "key partner" for Dassault Aviation, manufacturer of Rafale, for the discharge of offsets. The total value of offsets from the deal is estimated to be around Rs 30,000 crore.
In a letter to the Congress on Wednesday, Madhya Pradesh joint chief electoral officer Rajesh Kaul said the Congress should immediately stop the broadcast of the advertisement campaign.
The Election Commission has said that if the ban has been imposed by a state then the advertisement cannot be shown in other states also. A senior Election Commission official was quoted by NDTV as saying that it is possible to appeal against the decision.
However, the Congress leadership has cleared confusion of its candidates and asked them to continue chanting 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' slogan during their campaigning.
The decision has been taken as the leaders of the Congress campaign committee believe that the 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' slogan has hit the BJP very hard and that is why every BJP leader, including Prime Minister Modi, has been forced to declare himself/herself a 'Chowkidar' on the social media.
A leader says that 'Chowkidar Chor Hai' has become so popular that people start chanting the slogan even before they are asked to do so at the Congress rallies.
A senior Congress leader says that getting notices is normal and the party would give its reply at the appropriate time.
The BJP has alleged that the Congress is raking up Rafale controversy because of its relations with other defence companies.
In February, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, "Rahul Gandhi and the Congress are working to get the Rafale deal scrapped. They are playing in the hands of foreign forces and companies with vested interest."
The BJP also alleges that Rahul Gandhi, his sister Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert Vadra have relations with controversial arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.