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'Namo' food packs trigger row

Friday, April 12, 2019

Noida/Lucknow (UP): Some security personnel on election duty in Noida were served meals in packets labelled "Namo Foods", triggering criticism from the opposition even after the local police said the packs only displayed the name of food shop. The Bahujan Samaj Party said it has complained to the Election Commission.

"NaMo" are widely-recognised Hindi initials of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, previously seen on BJP merchandise and recently as the name of a TV channel.

The packets were brought in the boot of a hatchback and distributed among police personnel in Noida's sector 15A around 9.30 am, while polling was on in the Gautam Buddh Nagar constituency under which the Delhi suburb falls.

Union minister Mahesh Sharma is the Bharatiya Janata Party candidate seeking re-election there.

The packets, coloured in a shade of saffron, had 'Namo Foods' emblazoned on top in Hindi. They soon started generating a buzz among curious onlookers.

When contacted in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer L Venkateshwarlu said he has already spoken with the district magistrate on the issue.

“It is nothing related to the prime minister as the name of the company itself is Namo," he told PTI.

But the Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav blamed the BJP.

"Voters are turning out in large numbers to vote for #MahaParivartan which perhaps explains this desperate move. Clearly, the only thing the BJP knows how to do is branding and marketing," he said, quoting a re-tweet.

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