‘Modi sari’ flies off shelves as India poll fever grows

6 March, 2019 12:00 AM printer

MUMBAI: D. Gokal is buying a sari for his wife that may not be to everyone’s taste—a huge image of Indian leader Narendra Modi’s face is printed on it, reports AFP.

“It’s a beautiful sari, enhanced by Prime Minister Modi. My wife likes it,” Gokal tells AFP at the Paaneri clothing store in central Mumbai.

The shop is doing a roaring trade in Modi-themed saris—a traditional women’s garment—as Indians gear up for a general election due by May.

Modi, of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), will be seeking a second term in office when the world’s largest democracy heads to the polls.

Rahul Gandhi of the main opposition Congress party will be up against him in the vote, the dates of which are expected to be announced this week.

Entrepreneurial garment manufacturers tapped into a groundswell of support for Modi when he successfully bid to become prime minister for the first time in 2014, winning by a landslide.

Saris boasting digitally printed images of the white-haired, white-bearded, stocky 68-year-old have became a common sight at BJP rallies across India while supporters were also often seen wearing Modi masks.

The barrel-chested Modi famously takes great pride in his appearance, making a break with his more staidly outfitted predecessors with colourful dapper outfits often topped off with outlandish headgear.

However, a year after being elected he was pilloried when he wore a pinstriped jacket that had his name embroidered in it dozens of times in gold thread during a meeting with then US President Barack Obama.