The Election Commission on Thursday said it was just a coincidence that the shop that was catering food packets at a polling booth in Noida was called “Namo Foods”. The poll body said it was told that the caterer was an old shop in the locality.
Earlier in the day, social media posts had shown that food packets delivered to personnel at polling booths had the “Namo” label. The Noida Police had denied that they were politically linked.
Voting for the first phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections took place on Thursday.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has used NaMo to refer to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in several of its campaigns, advertisements and merchandise. Election rules ban the presence of any paraphernalia related to parties or candidates within 200 metres of polling booths on voting day.
Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer asked the Gautam Buddh Nagar district magistrate for a report on whether it violates the Model Code of Conduct, News18 reported. The district magistrate, however, downplayed the matter. “Will officials have food or not?” the magistrate reportedly said.
Gautam Buddh Nagar’s Senior Superintendent of Police Vaibhav Krishna claimed that people are spreading incorrect information. “There is some misinformation being spread that some policemen have been distributed food from a political party,” Krishna said on Twitter. “This is absolutely wrong.”
The police official said some food packets were procured from a nearby shop named Namo and not from any political party. “Some people are spreading wrong and politically motivated rumours. And there is no official order to procure food from any particular food outlet,” he added.
The manager of the outlet that supplied the packets dismissed claims about political links. “The Noida Police ordered 750 thaalis,” Sunil Anand told NDTV. “Namo comes from the Sanskrit term. There is nothing political about it. We have several shops across Noida.”
Additional Chief Election Officer BR Tiwari also refuted concerns about a possible poll violation, ANI reported. “There is a very old shop, more than 10 years old, which has this brand name. It has been highlighted in a different manner in media,” Tiwari said.