He is no celebrity, just an ordinary man. But, when he walks out on the street, he grabs eyeballs. People rush to take selfies with him. They praise him for his work. Some advise him not to walk about without security.
White hair, trimmed beard, the facial features, half-sleeved kurta, churidaar pyjama and the Nehru jacket --- he is the spitting image of the Prime Minister of India.
Narendra Modi’s doppelganger, Jagdish Rai Bhatia, 60, who runs a real-estate business, basks in the attention. He says his popularity amuses him. “Earlier, my friends would often point out the resemblance between me and Modi, but I never paid heed to them. … This was a few months before Modi’s candidature was declared by the BJP; that was also when I had stopped dyeing my beard and hair. In a few months, my beard and hair had turned totally white. And this was the time when Modi’s popularity peaked in the country,” he adds.
He reveals that he first drew public attention during his visit to Khari Baoli area of New Delhi. “I was passing through the lane of Khari Baoli when I noticed a crowd rushing towards me, calling out Modiji, Modiji. I tried to explain to them that I was just an ordinary man, but they weren’t ready to accept it,” recounts Jagdish.
Since then, there have been several such instances when he has been mistaken for the PM of India. On a visit to London, he managed to confuse the locals as well.
Jagdish is actually associated with a spiritual organization called Nirankari Mission. He tells us of an incident that took place a few months ago during a function his organisation hosted. When he was leaving the venue, Jagdish bumped into Baba Ramdev, who was himself startled at the resemblance. It wasn’t long before a group of women encircled Jagdish and started sharing their problems with him. He says, laughing: “It was awkward. It took some time to control the situation there. People weren’t ready to believe I wasn’t Modi.”
In reality, he is not very interested in politics, but nonetheless, insists he is an admirer of the Prime Minister. He believes Modi is doing a wonderful job at the helm.
Jagdish has other interests, such as Bollywood. He recently met Paresh Rawal when he heard that the actor-turned-politician was making a movie on Modi. He even offered to fill the protagonist’s role.
He says that it’s not just looks and outfits, he also shares the current Prime Minister’s vision of a bright future for the country.