The BJP would have the voters believe that running the country is Narendra Modi’s cup of tea. And what could be better to drive home the point than… err..well, a cup of tea!
Not all may agree but the BJP has adopted an eye-catching strategy to remind the people about the humble beginnings of its prime ministerial candidate by naming a tea stall ‘NaMo NaMo Tea Stall’, located in Jharkhand’s capital city.
Modi is often referred to as NaMo -- especially in social media like Facebook and Twitter -- an acronym derived from the first two letters of his name and surname.
Before his rise in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and subsequently in BJP, Modi assisted his brother in running a tea stall in the 1960s at the Gita Mandir bus stand in old Ahmedabad. He is said to have moved around serving hot cups of tea to passengers.
Located near the RSS’ state headquarters, Modi was deeply influenced by the Sangh’s philosophy after hearing speeches by its leaders. He joined the RSS and was later spotted by former deputy prime minister LK Advani who is said to have mentored Modi in his formative years as a politician.
Situated on Station Road in Ranchi, NaMo NaMo Tea Stall has photographs of Narendra Modi plastered all over.
Former Jharkhand assembly speaker and Ranchi BJP legislator CP Singh opened the tea stall that would be run by Vinay Sharma.
“Modi was once selling tea. This is indeed a heartiest moment for us as Modi is now the PM candidate of the BJP. The tea stall has been named after Modi to express our respect for him,” Sharma said.
The former speaker said, “the BJP has projected Modi as the PM candidate, who led life in poverty. I feel happy to inaugurate the NaMo tea stall”.
In fact, some party leaders in Bihar have already launched a campaign to name similar joints as ‘NaMO tea stall’.
“Many owners of roadside tea shops came to us and said they feel proud that Narendra Modi used to sell tea in his childhood and has risen to such a height that he has been named as BJP’s PM candidate. They expressed solidarity with him,” BJP legislator from Bankipore in Patna Nitin Navin said.
He said honouring the tea vendors’ sentiments, the party leaders have been visiting the tea stalls and pasting posters of Modi with his slogan of new India.
Navin, who along with party MLA from neighbouring Kumhrar assembly constituency Arun Kumar Sinha is popularising the concept, said so far they have visited 21 such tea stalls.
“We plan to visit about 400 such tea stalls before the BJP’s ‘hoonkar rally’ in Ranchi on October 27 which will be addressed by Narendra Modi,” he said.
The move is part of the party’s efforts to mobilise people for the rally at Gandhi Maidan, the first major political address by Narendra Modi in his rival Nitish Kumar’s home turf.
Bhola Rai, a tea vendor at Mandiri area, said his sale had increased after naming the stall after Modi.