The general elections are due in not even a month now and political parties like every time are launching campaigns to create a place in the heart of the masses. Everything is objectified as a prop of a campaign, even if it just a mere a “teacup”. Surprised? The passengers of Kathgodam Shatabdi Express were shocked too!
Paper cups with PM Modi’s campaign line “Main Bhi Chowkidar (I’m also watchman)” printed on them were being served with tea in it on the Shatabdi train.
‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ on Tea Cups!
The passengers of the Shatabdi train took to social media to spread awareness about the efficient use of campaign-prop. After a photo of tea served in a “Main Bhi Chowkidar” cup was viral on social media, the railways have withdrawn the glasses and penalized the contractor. According to a statement put out by them, the railways have imposed a ₹1 lakh fine on the service provider.
Tweets were made about the cups, tagging the Election Commission, calling it is a violation of the Election Code of Conduct. Claims are being made that the tea was served in these cups twice and the advertisement on the cup was of an NGO called Sankalp Foundation.
Tea being sold in 'Main Bhi Chowkidar' (I am also a watchman) paper cups in Indian Railways. This photo is from Shatabdi Express.
— Uzair Hasan Rizvi (@RizviUzair) March 29, 2019
Such a cheap advertisement by chowkidars which is against the law. Tea cups were served in Shatabdi train. You will do whatever for winning @BJP4India @narendramodi #Chowkidarssellingchai pic.twitter.com/T3l5Vd4uNH
— Abhishek (@Abhi18961729) March 29, 2019
Moreover, the IRCTC spokesperson denied news agency PTI of any prior approval for serving tea in these cups and also an explanation has been sought from supervisor/pantry in-charges over dereliction of duty.
Unintentional Mistake or Planned Marketing?
Ironically, this incident comes just days after the railways was found violating the poll code for issuing tickets with PM Modi’s pictures on them. The railways called the act as an “unintentional and inadvertent mistake”.
The “Main Bhi Chowkidar” campaign was launched by PM Modi earlier this month, as a counter to Rahul Gandhi’s relentless efforts in shaming the BJP Govt. for the Rafale jet deal. Like him, every BJP leader prefixed Twitter account with “Chowkidar”. But never did anyone expect that the campaign would reach teacups of a Shatabdi train. Let’s just hope the campaign finds better ways to promote itself.
The strong smell of marketing from these campaigns on one side have been actively doing its job – ‘creating awareness and raising engagement’ while on the other offending the other parties for not following the right code of conduct.
Well, we don’t know what’s in for the future of our nation, but hopefully, we would see more of such creative marketing stunts that is sure to leave us amazed, just like this one did.