Visitors to Ganpati mandals in Lalbaug have been taken by surprise at the sight of banners portraying a smiling Narendra Modi seemingly selling ‘NaMo tea’; the owners claim the use of the PM’s face and name is justified as their company will generate employment, which is a 'social cause'
When BJP’s national president Amit Shah visits Lalbaugcha Raja today, he will be greeted by posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi selling tea named after his popular moniker, NaMo.
BJP leaders have taken objection to these hoardings, which are put up near Ganpati mandals in Lalbaug and Parel. Pics/Emmanual Karbhari
P M Zaveri and Company, located in Kalbadevi, has put up hoardings across the city, with heavy concentration in the Lalbaug-Parel area, which have photos of Modi, a packet of NaMo Tea, and the PM’s famous slogan ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas’. Other hoardings use different slogans coined by the PM during his Lok Sabha campaign.
The hoardings line the route to the Lalbaugcha Raja, which will be visited by BJP President Amit Shah today
While BJP leaders are fuming, Prakash Upadhyay, co-owner of P M Zaveri and Co, claims the move is aimed at boosting the economy and feels there is nothing wrong in using the PM’s name and photograph to sell tea, as he is furthering Modi’s cause. He even claims to have a licence to use the photo.
“I am using the photo because I signed a contract with Take India Beyond Merchandizing Private Limited. The company, which is like an NGO, sent me the photograph that I am using on the hoardings. The contract is from February 2014 to December 2016. My tea business is going to give job opportunities to nearly 2 lakh people. It’s more of a social cause.”
“He had said ‘Ghar Ghar Modi’, and we are doing just that. Through our tea, we are taking the name NaMo to every house,” added Upadhyay. The tea will be formally launched during Navratri and will be available in stores at Rs 260 per kg (regular) and Rs 380 per kg (premium). “Take India Beyond Merchandizing will have a share in the profits, though I cannot disclose the profit share,” said Upadhyay, who refused to reveal the contract amount as well.
When mid-day contacted Take India Beyond Merchandizing Pvt Ltd in Ahmedabad, its representative, Nainesh Joshi, categorically denied the existence of any such contract. “Who are we to give pictures of Narendra Modi? It’s completely his (Modi’s) prerogative to decide who uses his pictures. We are into social service, not business, and we don’t make profits,” said Joshi.
Legal eagles have also been left baffled by the company’s use of the Prime Minister’s name and said he could file a civil suit against the firm if he wanted to. Justice Suresh Hosbet (Retd), said, “It is highly improper on anyone’s part to use the Prime Minister’s name to sell any product.”
Senior Advocate Y P Singh said, “It is unbecoming of the Prime Minister to endorse any such product, and I don’t think he would have given his consent for such a thing. But then, it’s only he (Modi) who can file a civil suit against the person using his photograph.”
BJP leaders, meanwhile, are angry at the use of Modi’s name and photo to endorse a product. A senior leader said, “We can’t even imagine how Shah will react when he sees the hoardings. We are headed for state elections, and these hoardings are in bad taste.”
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