For a moment on Sunday, many residents in Vadodara thought Narendra Modi was canvassing across the city roads on foot. However, the lack of gunmen and strong police presence exposed the Modi lookalike’s “may not be real” identity.
A resident of Saharanpur in western UP, Abhinandan Pathak’s campaign schedule was just as hectic as the real Modi. Pathak, who has been travelling across UP to campaign for Modi landed on a two-day campaign trail in Gujarat for his “demigod” and BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.
From here, Pathak will return to UP and canvass in various districts to encourage people to vote for Modi.
In a conversation with The Indian Express, Pathak, who dresses like Modi from head to toe, confessed of having political ambitions. In fact, he has contested elections twice — 1999 Lok Sabha and 2012 UP Assembly polls from his native Saharanpur — and lost.
“In 1999, as an Independent, I lost to Mansoor Ali Khan of the Bahujan Samaj Party. In 2012, I contested from my own Manavtawadi party and lost to BJP candidate Raghav Lakhanpal. Then, I merged my party with the BJP and became a minor party worker. However, wherever I went, people addressed me as ‘Modiji’, thanks to the uncanny resemblance I bear to him. My children — three daughters and three sons — too think I am a Modi lookalike. This has encouraged me to dress up like the leader himself and campaign for him,” Pathak said.
Earlier this year, Pathak cycled 150 kms from his home to participate in Modi’s Meerut rally on February 2. “When I reached there, people hugged me and said I am Modi. It makes me feel proud because I literally worship Modi and pray for his success everyday.”
In Vadodara, Pathak managed to charm almost everyone who met him while motorists stopped to catch a glimpse of “Modi” at cross roads.
“I met local BJP leaders here and they helped me meet more people in the city. People are showing positive signs for Modiji and I am very happy about that. I will return to UP to campaign for him as my financial constraints do not permit me to travel to many other parts.” Pathak works as a physical training instructor in a private college in Saharanpur.