After Modi's lookalike, Yogi's doppelganger to contest from Lucknow seat

Suresh Thakur
First, it was Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s lookalike, Abhinandan Pathak, who filed his nomination on April 12 from Lucknow. And now, another 'double' so to speak, this time of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, has filed his nomination from the prestigious Lucknow parliamentary constituency. 
 
Suresh Thakur alias Yodha filed his nomination papers yesterday, the last day to apply for candidature in the the fifth phase of polling scheduled on May 6.
 
Thakur not only keeps a tonsured head like the UP CM, but also sports saffron robes with a matching ‘gamcha’ around the neck, replete with earrings. However, he does not idolise Adityanath, but expresses reverence for Lord Buddha.
 
On the comparison with Adityanath due to his saint like appearance and the sartorial tastes, he claims to have been sporting his present look for over a decade now, although he admits to be getting more attention after the former became the CM of UP.

 
“I will give a tough fight to my opponents in the Lucknow election and corner almost 3,50,000 votes,” the 46-year-old Thakur told Business Standard. However, he is not a celibate like Adityanath and is married. He has a son. In the past, he had been a leader of a small-time employees’ association.
 
Meanwhile, Thakur also claimed to be associated with a local news channel apart from the office bearer of a lesser known journalists’ body. Besides, he had worked as an operator with the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) in one of the dalit memorials erected during the previous Mayawati regime in Lucknow.
 
A resident of the Sadar locality in the state capital, Thakur had previously fought the local municipality elections from Cantonment, but lost.

 
Earlier, Pathak, who had campaigned extensively in favour of Modi and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in run up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, had filed his nomination from Lucknow, wherein union home minister Rajnath Singh is seeking reelection. Singh had filed his nomination papers on Tuesday after a massive show of strength amid roadshow.
 
Sporting grey beards akin to Modi, Pathak dresses like the PM in his signature kurta-pyjamas and imitates his oratory, including the trademark reference of ‘mitron’ (friends).
 
Pathak had even canvassed for the ruling BJP during the 2018 Gorakhpur bypoll after Adityanath had vacated his parliamentary seat following his election to the state legislature. The saffron party, however, lost the prized Gorakhpur seat to Samajwadi Party (SP) candidate Praveen Nishad, who was also supported by SP arch rival Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
 
However, Pathak grew disenchanted with the saffron party and joined Congress instead hoping to get the party ticket. But, when Congress did not field him from any seat, Pathak decided to contest the general elections as an Independent. Originally from Saharanpur, he now lives in Lucknow.