Jagdish Rai Bhatia, 62, a real estate business man who becomes a star as soon as he steps out of his home. People rush to take selfies with him but he is no celebrity, just an ordinary man. White hair, trimmed beard, kurta – churidaar and the Nehru jacket — looks that resembles of the most powerful man in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi. says it has been over 20 years since he has been dressing like this. It was in 2013, before Modi’s candidature announcement that he stopped dying his hair to make his wife (who was ill and had a reaction to chemical dyes causing her hair to go completely white) feel better and support of her. The only change he has brought to his attire, Jagdish says is the half-sleeved kurta. In all other ways, he has simply been following his own sartorial preferences. He notes that the V-cut jacket that Modi wears is something that Jagdish has been wearing for over 20 years, albeit in wool. The resemblance to Modi is a coincidence but not very far from what Jagdish Bhatia is himself.
Being known in society was not new to Jagdish anyway, he points out. So there hasn’t been a real loss to his privacy because of this assumed character. He feels that the love and respect that is showered on him every day as he steps out is the achievement in itself for him. He says his family also appreciates and loves the aspect of him dressing up like Modi. They are also showered with respect and love when out and about with him.
During roadshows and rallies most people simply assume that he is Modi, Jagdish says. He was once stopped by people in Select Citywalk, Saket, who were concerned that he was roaming about without any security. Another instance happened when he was stuck in the Delhi metro and people refused to accept his true identity to which he had to pull out media coverage of himself and respond with the truth.
He says Modi took a lot of bold decisions ever since coming into power. Personally, he is not interested in politics or inclined towards it. He rather focuses his time on the Sant Nirankari Mission. He likes Modi’s way of functioning and hopes to see the country progress under his leadership.
A lot of MCD election candidates invited him on padyatras and roadshows, which he gladly obliged them. Siddharth Nath Sing (UP Health Minister) also took him along during his campaign in Allahabad. He says he has always been accommodating to the needs of fans and well-wishers of Modi, to the extent of not refusing appearances in political rallies or events. Bhatia is quick to point out that having been associated with a religious organization for a long time, and being an active worker, he is especially mindful of his behaviour and more so in public. He feels personally responsible now for ensuring no harm comes to Modi’s image because of any action of his, which is why he is cautious of being irritated or bothered by requests in public.
So far he hasn’t had the chance to meet the PM. Paresh Rawal came to meet him once and said the PM would be very pleased to know of Jagdish. On his suggestion, Jagdish did once write to the PMO regarding his conversation with Rawal. But he did not attempt another approach feeling he would be ‘wasting the PM’s time with whatever amount he would spare towards me’. (Raj K Raj/HT Photo)