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HindustanTimes Sun,23 Nov 2014

Modi lookalike Mahante basks in reflected glory

PTI  Mumbai, April 12, 2014
First Published: 12:32 IST(12/4/2014) | Last Updated: 13:35 IST(14/4/2014)

At first glance, it is difficult to spot the difference, what with "supporters" jostling to have a snap taken with the "BJP's prime ministerial candidate".

Mahante's uncanny resemblance to Modi has made him a permanent face in the city's BJP campaign rallies and roadshow. (AFP photo)

However, a closer look reveals it is not Narendra Modi but his lookalike Vikas Mahante, who is having a hectic schedule during the ongoing poll campaign, with increasing demand from saffron alliance candidates to participate in their events.

The 52-year-old businessman from suburban Malad, who is otherwise apolitical, cannot help predict the outcome of the Lok Sabha elections.

"I see a Modi wave. And in a big way," Mahante told PTI as he readied to set off for another road show, this one to campaign for Shiv Sena candidate from Mumbai North West constituency Gajanan Kirtikar.

Asked how it feels to be mobbed as a Modi lookalike, Mahante recalls the incident in December, when the real Modi visited Mumbai and he went at the rally venue to catch a glimpse of him.

The crowd, mistaking Mahante for Modi, surrounded him and it was after much difficulty that security personnel were able to separate him from the "fans" who thought he was the real Modi.

BJP's candidate Gopal Shetty looks on as Vikas Mahante campaigns in Mumbai. (AFP photo)

Asked what other "similarities" he shares with the Gujarat chief minister, besides his looks, mannerisms and attire, Mahante says that like Modi he also loves poetry.

Kirtikar said Mahante's resemblance to Modi has made him a crowd-puller. For the "Modi from Malad", being mobbed on road by people wanting to click photos with him is a daily routine. Mahante recalls the "tremendous response" he got while participating in a road show for BJP candidate Gopal Shetty, who is contesting from Mumbai North Lok Sabha constituency.

He came into spotlight a month ago after some photographers spotted him at an event here and noticed his uncanny resemblance to the BJP leader.

A month later, Mahante is now used to people approaching him, asking for photos. "I oblige. They want to tell others they met Narendra Modi," he says and recalls meeting the real Modi during a visit to Gujarat last year. "

Vikas Mahante's uncanny resemblance to Modi has made him a permanent face in the city's BJP campaign rallies and roadshow. (AFP photo)

I got two minutes to talk to him. He had a good laugh and asked me, 'So, how are you going to help the cause?'" Mahante says.

When Mahante makes an appearance with the candidates, his brief is simple: greet the candidate, get on the jeep and wave to the crowd.

And for the next ten days, that is what he will be doing.

Vikas Mahante is mobbed by supporters before an election rally in Mumbai. (AFP photo)

 


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