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PM the Businessman asks you to buy his merchandise

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Modi as a SalesmanThe country is truly into the poll season; the election campaigns are hotting up and all the political parties are full steam into the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. While so far pre-poll period was all about aggressive pro and anti-government battle though rallies, wall paintings, social media, flyers, and brochures, etc., 2019 is trying the flavour of government merchandising and above all, the Prime Minister himself, along with his responsibilities of being a Chowkidar, has seemingly taken up the job of a businessman prior to the polls.

The BJP has been marketing the ‘NAMO AGAIN’ T-shirt on the NaMo App, a mobile application that takes its name from the first two letters of the PM’s name and surname. The products are also available for purchase on website merchandise.narendramodi.in. Both the platforms have the latest ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ product line on sale. The merchandise also has a Twitter handle that promotes the sale of such article, with tweets and re-tweets of those posting their picture with items purchased on the NaMo App. Moreover, the NaMo stores in a bright shade of orange are also at many places across the country to showcase the brand Modi. However, what caught the eyes of many is PM Modi’s tweet asking the citizens to order from his range of merchandise.

Retweeting a tweet by @namomerchandise that read, “Phir Ek Baar, NaMo Chowkidar! India is showing its support for NaMo Again with Main Bhi Chowkidar T-shirts! Get your own at https://bit.ly/namo_again or on the NaMo App at https://nm4.in/dnldapp”, Narendra Modi’s twitter handle wrote: “The #MainBhiChowkidar programme on the 31st will look even better with the attractive merchandise! Have you ordered yours?” This is the first time when a Prime Minister took an active part in the marketing of his own products. It seems that the 2014’s chaiwala has not forgotten his old days but has changed his set of products on sale making it more for the millennials.

NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad said, “PM Modi had initially become a Chaiwala followed by Chowkidar and now he has become a Salesman — people should be aware of it. He has become a quick-change artist and the PM must not lead such kind of life being in such a dignified position. The Prime Minister’s post holds responsibilities and PM Modi can’t stoop so low.”

The NaMo merchandise showcases BJP and its government’s projects in the country over the last five years. Its app started offering from September. The range includes T-shirts for men and women, khadi jackets named as Modi jackets, pens, Modi masks, notebooks, coffee mugs, caps, wall clocks, badges, stickers, magnets, key chains, wristbands, and Exam Warrior, the book written by PM Modi for students taking examinations. While most of the merchandise say NaMo Again (with or without a lotus), some of them have the NDA administration’s go-to words like Main Bhi Chowkidar, Make In India, Namo Namah, Swachh Bharat and a variety of other things. There’s one stray ‘Naari Shakti – women-led development’ tee as well.

The party president Amit Shah has even flagged off a ‘NaMo Rath’, a store on wheels selling the same merchandise. The saffron-coloured fleet of mini-trucks with huge photos of Modi are planned to tour the nation. Shah called it a “unique nationwide initiative” and said that the money collected from the exercise will be donated to the ‘Namami Ganga’ project aimed at cleaning the river. Moreover, for information, the already existing PM’s flagship Namami Gange program spent more than Rs 4,000 crore and many research reports suggest that the River has not become any cleaner while its contamination levels have increased at many places since 2013.

BJP MLA Ram Kadam spoke to Afternoon Voice and stated, “The party is focused on winning the 2019 Lok Sabha polls and don’t want to pay attention to the comments made by the opposition. Main Bhi Chowkidar campaign will be successful and BJP is aiming to win more than 300 seats while NDA is expected to win more than 400 seats.”

On the other hand, Independent MLA Bacchu Kadu said, “This is the first time when we are seeing such marketing tactics adopted by the government and the Prime Minister. PM Modi and Amit Shah can go to any extent for campaigning and they are the dons. The party and its leaders are misleading the citizens.”

With the seven-phase election slightly more than a fortnight away, the Prime Minister’s tweet has received enough flak from the netizens as well as the opposition parties. Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday took a dig at ‘Namo Again’ and ‘Chowkidar’ T-shirts; she tweeted, “BJP leaders are busy marketing T-shirts, if only they could pay attention to those suffering.” “The hard work of Uttar Pradesh’s ‘Shiksha Mitras’ is insulted every day. Scores of sufferers committed suicide. Those who took to the streets to protest were beaten with lathis, National Security Act was registered against them,” Priyanka added in her tweet highlighting the issue of UP’s Shiksha Mitras, or contractual teachers. Even the merchandise got sarcastically slammed by citizens for lacking diversity while netizens suggested including T-shirts about unemployment, women’s safety, communalism, farmer suicides, Kashmir, and cow-vigilantes to shut the mouth of those who say the PM keeps mum on crucial issues of the country.

Congress MLA Husnabanoo Nizamuddin Khalife asserted, “Even though the PM Modi-led government has launched their merchandise but the party is going to lose the general election. The government is trying to connect with the masses through these initiatives but people residing in rural areas had to undergo several hardships in the last five years. Youth has become unemployed and many businessmen have shut their shops. Such merchandise is a violation of model code of conduct and action must be taken against them.”

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