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'Namo' food boxes for poll officials in Noida triggers row; Uttar Pradesh CEO claims packets unrelated to PM

Noida/Lucknow: 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 (BSP) said it has complained to the Election Commission about it.

"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 BJP 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.

 Namo food boxes for poll officials in Noida triggers row; Uttar Pradesh CEO claims packets unrelated to PM

Reports of 'Namo' food packets being distributed near poll booths in Noida triggered a controversy on Thursday. Image courtesy: 101Reporters

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

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

But 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 in a tweet.

Samajwadi Party's alliance partner BSP said it has contacted the Election Commissioner. "We have already taken it up, both at the state level and with the Election Commission," its national general-secretary SC Misra said.

Election rules ban paraphernalia related to parties or candidates within 200 metres of polling booths.

Misra also forwarded photographs of the food packets through social media to substantiate his claim.

Earlier, Gautam Buddh Nagar's senior superintendent of police Vaibhav Krishna issued a statement, saying the packets had nothing to do with any political party. “Misinformation is being spread that some policemen have been distributed food from a political party,” he said.

“This is absolutely wrong. At the local level, some food packets were procured from Namo Foods shop and not from any political party," he said.

"Some people are spreading wrong and politically motivated rumours. There is no official order to procure food from any particular food outlet,” he said.

Your guide to the latest election news, analysis, commentary, live updates and schedule for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 on firstpost.com/elections. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram or like our Facebook page for updates from all 543 constituencies for the upcoming general elections.

Updated Date: Apr 11, 2019 20:52:11 IST

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