A new entrant to the grand old party, Pathak was with the BJP-led NDA constituent Republican Party of India (Athawale) as its state vice-president for Uttar Pradesh till he joined the Congress last month.
He looks like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, dresses and speaks like him and begins his speech with ‘Mitron’, but their similarities end there – He is Abhinandan Pathak, a Congress campaigner in the Naxal-affected Bastar region of Chhattisgarh who says “achhe din Nahin Jayenge”.
A new entrant to the grand old party, Pathak was with the BJP-led NDA constituent Republican Party of India (Athawale) as its state vice-president for Uttar Pradesh till he joined the Congress last month in the presence of actor-turned-politician Raj Babbar.
Pathak, who has been campaigning for the Congress in various seats of the region, including Jagdalpur, Dantewada, Kondagaon, and Bastar, is drawing attention in a big way from the locals who jostle to click selfies with him. Pathak claims he is campaigning against the BJP and Modi for the first time since 2014 and till now he used to campaign only for the saffron party and its allies.
During the last Lok Sabha polls, there were several lookalikes of Modi, including Pathak, who was seen in different places across the country during election campaigns.
However, sitting Congress MLA Devti Karma, who is again contesting the election on the party ticket, said she is not even aware of any Modi lookalike campaigning for her.
Devti, who is the wife of Salwa Judum founder late Mahendra Karma, said she is seeking votes in the name of her late husband. Karma is said to have mobilized the controversial movement against Naxals in Chhattisgarh and he was killed by the left-wing extremists in 2013, days ahead of the state assembly elections that year.
Local Congress leaders, who are accompanying Pathak, however, said his unique way of campaigning is helping them in reaching out to BJP voters.
Incidentally, Pathak has been campaigning in the region at a time Modi himself is scheduled to address a rally in Jagdalpur on Friday.