The Indian Railways on Friday was found promoting the election agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party, the BJP, after several social media users posted photos of tea cups bearing Main Hoon Chowkidar slogan. Photos of tea cups carrying Main Hoon Chowkidar were reportedly taken from Shatabdi Express.
No sooner the photo emerged on Twitter, Modi and his party began to receive social media roasting with many accusing the Election Commission of facilitating the gross violation of the election code of conduct.
Isn’t it a big violation of EC’s model code of conduct ? This is how Indian railway started serving tea in Shatabdi Express ??♂️? pic.twitter.com/sU4MruAPJh
— Samir Abbas (@TheSamirAbbas) March 29, 2019
After Air India, it’s now the Indian railways.
Below is the picture of cups with #MainBhiChowkidar written on them. They were used to serve tea in 12040 Kathgodam Shatabdi today. Railways admits it’s a violation & has initiated penal action. pic.twitter.com/Iy2UHG3ehj
— SaahilMurli Menghani (@saahilmenghani) March 29, 2019
Tea being served in ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ cups in Shatabdi trains pic.twitter.com/WCtVaotwDv
— Manak Gupta (@manakgupta) 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
— DIPTANSU CHAUDHURY (@ColDiptangshu) March 29, 2019
Faced with growing outrage, the ministry of railways issued a clarification informing that the controversial cups had been withdrawn. The ministry was quoted by news agency ANI as saying, “It happened today but immediately glasses were withdrawn. Penal action is being taken against the contractor. Action is also being taken against the supervisor.”
A statement by the IRCTC later said that it had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on the service provider. Its statement said, “News reports that tea has been served in cups labelled as “main bhi chowkidar” have been investigated. This was without any prior approval of IRCTC. The cups have been withdrawn with immediate effect. It may be noted that only few of these cups were in circulation.
“Explanation has been called from Supervisors/Pantry In-charges. 1 lakh fine has been imposed on the service provider. Show cause notice has also been served for this misconduct.”
Earlier this month, government carrier Air India was found to be issuing boarding passes to its passengers with Modi’s face on it. The public carrier was later forced to withdraw them amidst huge outrage.
The Friday’s development has brought the role of the Election Commission under scanner once again. The national poll body has always faced criticism for functioning as toothless constitutional entity.