Why using Modi’s doppelganger Abhinandan Pathak will leave Congress red-faced in elections

The Congress' enthusiasm over Pathak suggests the party is not serious about voters' issues and is instead playing childish personality games.

 |  3-minute read |   16-11-2018
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The growing signs of anti-incumbency against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government have at least been successful in injecting new hope into the already beleaguered opposition Congress of returning to power in 2019.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi never misses an opportunity to directly attack the Modi government. However, all the strategies of cornering the Modi government may be neutralised by the grand old party’s obsession with Modi's lookalike, Abhinandan Pathak.

Pathak, who supported Modi in 2014, apparently has recently switched to the Congress and dresses and speaks like him, beginning his speech with ‘mitron’ (friends), one of Modi's famously favourite words.

rahul-gandhi-690_111518064421.jpgRahul Gandhi with his political opponent Narendra Modi's lookalike. (Photo: Instagram/rahulgandhi)

The Congress is so excited about using this ‘Modi against Modi’ trick that Pathak is being used by the party in the election campaigns in Chhattisgarh and it is also reportedly expected to use him for the upcoming 2019 polls. Recently, Rahul tweeted a photo of him with Pathak.

But it seems the Congress strategy may only harm the party, instead of doing much damage to its arch rival, the BJP.

Recent surveys clearly say that presently, there is no leader in the country is as popular as Modi, a fact accepted even by some of Modi’s strongest critics. Today, while analysing the elections, even political analysts try to scrutinise the impact of the ‘Modi factor’ — an element that leaves a definite mark in deciding the election results.

In such a situation, Congress leaders hanging out with Modi's doppelganger only strengthens the argument that Prime Minister Modi is more popular than Rahul Gandhi — a perception which grows stronger with the acts of the Congress party itself.

Although Congress' ‘own Modi’ never misses any opportunity to attack the Prime Minister by mimicking his style that “achhe din are not going to come”, so vote for the Congress, the reality is that the Congress’ approach is only helping the BJP because, after all, it is Modi who is in the news — real Modi on one side, and the duplicate on the other side.

The Congress should instead ponder over why Rahul Gandhi is lagging so much behind Prime Minister Modi in terms of popularity even after growing signs of resentment against the Modi government. In addition, the party should be concerned about other Opposition leaders, like West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, BSP supremo Mayawati and NCP president Sharad Pawar's coldness in accepting Rahul as the leader of the united Opposition.

abhinandan_111518064605.jpgThe Congress doesn't realise that by talking about Modi's duplicate, it ensures the spotlight stays on PM Modi. (Source: India Today)

The grand old party's shared enthusiasm over duplicate Modi somehow manages to deliver a message that the party is not serious about voters' issues and it is rather more joyfully involved in highlighting personality politics.

The party's campaign managers are very aware that when it comes to the personality game, Prime Minister Modi is well ahead of Rahul.

Despite that, the Congress playing doppelganger strategy shows the party still has a long way to go because such errors will only damage the party's prospects, which already look dismal.

Apart from providing entertainment to people in an election season, there are strong chances that the Congress will end up assisting the BJP in gaining politically as it bolsters its most powerful ‘Modi card’.

After all, perception matters in politics.

There is still time for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress to rectify its politically goofed-up game plan, if the party is really serious about defeating the BJP.

Time, perhaps, to ditch the fake and get real.

Also read: How Congress failed to adopt 'Gujarat model' in Madhya Pradesh


Sagarneel Sinha Sagarneel Sinha @sagarneelsinha

The writer is a commentator on politics, religion, culture and philosophy.

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