BJP hopes NaMo App — with merchandise such as pens, notebooks etc embossed with ‘NaMo Again’ messages — will help bolster Modi’s image ahead of 2019.
New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has directed all its MPs, MLAs and office-bearers to go on a shopping spree on the NaMo App, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s flagship portal for public outreach and party affairs.
The app has put up for sale a whole range of promotional merchandise that includes notebooks, pens, mugs, T-shirts and caps embossed with messages such as “NaMo Again” and “NaMo Modified”, besides items that serve as plugs for government schemes like Swachh Bharat, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Make In India, Yuva Shakti etc.
“NaMo App has launched a new application, NaMo Merchandise, through which different articles like T-shirts, caps, notebooks, mugs, stickers and pens etc can be purchased,” reads an official communique sent to party leaders by the BJP’s central office over the weekend.
“Besides providing a platform to buy various articles, different historical [sic] flagship schemes of our PM… will be branded through this application, which will ultimately unite millions of people across the country,” the letter adds.
The letter, sent to all BJP MPs and party’s state unit presidents, says the items can be bought for “near and dear ones” as gifts or for “advertisement purposes”.
The proceeds of the sales will go to the Namami Gange fund for the rejuvenation of the Ganga.
“This will be a moment of pride for us,” the letter, written by national general secretary Arun Singh, states.
Election season ahoy
The BJP’s shopping directive to members comes months before the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and is seen by political observers as an attempt to bolster Modi’s personality cult, besides showcasing his government’s flagship schemes.
Members have been directed to buy vast quantities of the goods for distribution to each household, with an aim to bolster the BJP’s visibility ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.
“We plan to ensure that every household has at least one of these goods,” said a senior party leader. “Every time people look at the merchandise, they will think about the PM and his schemes,” the BJP leader added. “It will have a psychological impact on voters when they go out and vote.”
The initiative, sources said, will also help ensure that voters are familiar with government schemes even in constituencies where representatives failed to follow PM Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s directive to popularise NDA programmes.
Sources told ThePrint that the BJP will keep a close watch on who buys what and in what quantity.
Experiment started in 2014
The BJP first flirted with the idea of promotional merchandise in 2014, when the party entered the fray with select goods embossed with ‘NaMo’. Highly placed sources in the party said the idea struck a chord with the cadres and became immensely popular.
However, this time, Modi wanted the party to do it officially. “The PM expressed his desire to use technology to distribute merchandise with his name printed on it,” said a source.
“The idea is to reinforce his popularity with the masses to ensure the party wins the elections again,” the source added, saying the use of the same merchandise will “create symmetry in the campaign”.