Monday, 30th October 2017

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Tired of Myntra? Now there's NaMo

Narendra Modi's app hawks T-shirts, mugs, notebooks, stickers, magnets, caps and pens and hardsells slogans such as NAMO AGAIN and India MODIfied

By J.P. Yadav
  • Published 19.09.18
  • a few seconds read
A T-shirt on sale on the NaMo App

New Delhi: NaMo is no longer a peddler of unfulfilled dreams as the Opposition alleges.

NaMo now sells T-shirts, mugs, notebooks, stickers, magnets, caps and pens - many of them saffron in colour. It also hardsells slogans such as "NAMO AGAIN" and "India MODIfied".

Alas! It does not yet sell the most coveted possession in the country right now: petrol. But some items do cost less than two litres of petrol.

The merchandise - and the political branding - is being hawked by the Narendra Modi app, the personal mobile application of the Prime Minister. The citizenry was blessed with the merchandise section on September 17 when Modi turned 68.

Besides "Merchandise", a new feature of the app is the "Donations" section "empowering you to directly donate to the BJP". Amounts ranging from Rs 5 to Rs 1,000 will be accepted to "enhance the determination of lakhs of karyakartas (BJP workers) towards building a New India".

The NaMo App had originally been designed to disseminate information on initiatives taken up by the Prime Minister and to connect with people. According to the app, the proceeds from the sale of the NaMo merchandise will go to the Clean Ganga Fund.

BJP leaders said the app had nothing to do with the government. The merchandise section is powered by an e-commerce solutions provider called Flycart, and the registered address of the app is Bharatiya Janata Party, 6A Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg.

Asked if the Prime Minister's personal app selling merchandise raises questions of propriety, BJP spokesperson Nalin Kohli dismissed such a possibility. "The NaMo App is a unique and exceptional platform for linking Narendra Modi to his millions of followers and supporters. Beyond information dissemination and interaction, the NaMo App is for participation of citizens in socially relevant issues and projects. The proposed sale of merchandise can be viewed from the perspective of involving citizens in the Clean Ganga project," Kohli said.

Despite espousing the cause of a "clean Ganga", the sale of merchandise fits in with the BJP strategy to turn the 2019 Lok Sabha polls into a presidential-style contest, where the individual will be paramount.

BJP managers feel "Brand Modi" will be a formidable counter to the possibility of the Opposition coming together.

All leaders and elected representatives of the BJP had been asked to download the app. Modi also uses the platform to send direct messages to individual leaders and groups.

Some did not miss a French connection at a time the Rafale deal has become controversial. Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron, too, began selling merchandise, including stuff with his name labelled on them, to raise money for the repair of the presidential palace.