There was a stir outside the NESC ground yesterday when Vikas Mahante, a 52-yr-old man who bears an uncanny resemblance to Narendra Modi, showed up in the prime minister designate’s trademark kurta pajama and Nehru jacket
Outside the counting centre at Goregaon’s NESC grounds yesterday, a statuesque figure alighted from a vehicle, clad in an uncannily familiar set of white kurta-pyjama and a Nehru jacket. The man’s presence caused an immediate stir among the Shiv Sena and BJP supporters who had gathered there.
The spectacle of Mahante in his red turban and Nehru jacket sent the crowds into a tizzy. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar
While they knew moments later that the man was not their pin-up political idol Narendra Modi but only a look-alike, this realisation did not seem to diminish their enthusiasm and excitement over his presence. As soon as Malad-resident Vikas Mahante stationed himself outside the barricades, BJP and Shiv Sena supporters started flocking towards him.
Mahante was soon the cynosure of all eyes, with vehicles driving past on the Western Express Highway (WEH) slowing down to a crawl, just to catch a glimpse of the man of the moment – or the next best thing, at least. Many alighted from their bikes and whisked out their phones to take photos of the man on their cell phones.
Emboldened by the wave of support, Mahante approached the police and asked them to remove the metal barricades. The 52-year-old businessman proceeded right up to the gate, where there was a frenzy of posing, with supporters taking ‘selfies’ with Modi’s look-alike. Asked to wear a red turban, Mohante obliged, and families started queuing up to get themselves clicked with him.
“Ever since I started growing a beard, I realised that I look like Narendra Modi. I know that it is not nice to impersonate someone, but I mean no harm,” Mahante said to mid-day, addeding that he has political aspirations himself.
Soon, policemen started noticing the chaos and making announcements on their megaphones, asking that the crowds to disperse from the gate and the barricades, where only media persons and security personnel with valid passes were allowed to stand.
Mahante’s presence also led to an accident in the area. Eyewitnesses said that a pedestrian was distracted by the spectacle while crossing the road, causing a biker to crash into him. ‘Modi’ and his followers rushed to the victim’s rescue, giving him water and a place to rest inside an auto rickshaw.