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'I am the original': Modi lookalike hits campaign trail

13 May 2019 - 108   - 0

His white beard neatly trimmed and a sleeveless jacket thrown over his traditional Indian shirt, Abhinandan Pathak turns heads thanks to an uncanny resemblance to the country's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

But Pathak -- almost the same height and build as the PM, and who even walks in a similar way -- is no ordinary doppelganger.

Bitter at Modi's "failed promises", Pathak is running as an independent against Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India's marathon election -- and is getting a lot of support.

The largest election on Earth wraps up on Sunday May 19, after seven weeks of intense campaigning and the votes of 900 million Indians.

"The anger (towards Modi) is real. I can feel it wherever I go," Pathak, 58, told AFP from his one-room shanty home in the northern city of Lucknow, in India's most populous state Uttar Pradesh.

When Modi was first elected in 2014, Pathak was a supporter. Because of his resemblance to the premier, people "adored me, they asked for selfies and hugged me."

"I was showered with love. People thought that if they can't meet the real Modi, they might as well meet me," he said.

"But now they get angry when they see me. They ask me 'where are the good days'," he said, after Modi's 2014 election slogan "achhe din ayenge" ("good days will come").

Pathak's brightest moment came in May 2014, when he says Modi hugged him during a victory parade in the city of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

But it was all downhill after that. He was ignored by the party and his many letters to Modi went unanswered, Pathak said.

(AFP)

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