This dhaba in Varanasi, from where BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is contesting, was putting the ‘NaMo’ mark and BJP symbol 'Lotus' on rotis made for its customers.
Police on Friday asked a ‘dhaba’ selling rotis with ‘NaMo’ mark to shut shop after complaints from certain groups, to which the BJP said that the “Modi stamp” on the people’s hearts can’t be removed.
“Police can stop Modi stamp on rotis, but they can’t remove the stamp that our prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has left on the hearts of people of Varanasi,” senior BJP leader Amit Shah said.
Shah, considered to be very close to Modi and camping here the for Lok Sabha campaign, was replying to reporters’ query about police action against an eatery selling rotis imprinted with NaMo —— the initials for Narendra Modi —— and slogans like ‘Abki Baar Modi Sarkaar’.
Senior police officers said that the action was taken after complaints from the general public and even some political leaders for such “vieled election campaigning.“
The dhaba owner refused to comment on the police action, saying he has been asked not to speak on this matter.
The poll fever in this holy town has entered totally uncharted territories such as rotis, laddoos, balloons, bricks and jackets, as BJP supporters are placing mass orders of many products with ‘NaMo’ mark, while makers of these items are happily reciprocating to cash in on these “electoral gains“.
This dhaba was putting the ‘NaMo’ mark and BJP symbol 'Lotus' on rotis made for its customers, although there were also instances when customers have refused to eat there after being served these items.
Taking a cue from Western countries, including the US Presidential election, election merchandising has emerged as a major trend in the ongoing elections. Aam Aadmi Party has also tried to make use of various merchandise such as caps, t—shirts and their election symbol ‘broom’, while it has now also put Urdu slogans on its caps —— apparently to garner more votes from the Muslim community which accounts for over three lakh voters.
Varanasi has over 16 lakh voters and it goes to the polls on May 12, while campaign will end on Saturday.
AAP’s Kejriwal held a massive roadshow on Friday where members of the minority community was seen in large numbers.
Makers and sellers of many election-linked merchandise say that they began doing so after huge orders were placed with them by supporters of AAP and BJP.
A senior Congress leader charged that the markets are being flooded with such products to create a “forced” wave, while similar charges were made by many others from other Opposition parties.
Besides Modi and Kejriwal, Congress’ Ajay Rai is also in the fray in this Lok Sabha constituency.