On Friday morning, readers of leading English dailies were greeted by full page advertisements of Reliance Jio with PM Modi staring at them below a tagline which said: Jio Digital Life. The advertisement comes a day after RIL chairperson Mukesh Ambani launched the ambitious Reliance Jio, a player that is to be seen as a game-changer in the telecom sector.
The advertisement with Modi 'endorsing' Reliance has stirred a hornet's nest. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was quick to taunt Modi for 'modelling' in a Reliance ad. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury hit out at the PM endorsing corporates on a day when over 15 crore workers in the country went on strike demanding better wages and facilities.
Any more proof reqd to prove that - मोदी जी अम्बानी की जेब में। pic.twitter.com/YyBOUQn9Xt— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 2, 2016
Some even offered insights into lesser-noticed details of Modi's blue jacket in the advertisement colour-coordinated with the Jio brand.
Also, good to see Modi's waistcoat colour has been matched to the Jio brand colour. Couldn't get more ridiculous. https://t.co/cqiFQHLA6W— Brown Sahiba (@Rajyasree) September 2, 2016
Many are suspicious of a deal between the PM and Reliance Industries. The larger question,however, was whether it is legal for the PM to endorse a private firm. The ad would seem to violate the Emblems and Names Act, say social media users. With talks on about the celebrity endorsement law, will Modiji be held liable if Jio fails to deliver, some wondered. The Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act of 1950 aims to prevent improper use of certain national emblems and names for professional and commercial use.
While a section of Twitterrati was up in arms against the ad, there were Modi-faithfuls who tried to reason it out.
Modi is on the Reliance ad because Reliance has dedicated Jio to the Digital India Campaign. READ the ad before pointing fingers!— Nalini. (@facepalm92) September 2, 2016
And the jokes kept coming.