MANGALURU: Two residents from temple town Udupi are being wooed by BJP election managers for campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat.They are no party leaders but Au- gustine Almeida and Sadananda Nayak are in great demand for the striking resemblance they bear to Mahatma Gandhi and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Nayak, 59, was working as a cook in KMC Hostel while Almeida, was an underwater welder. Both are no longer working but have gained prominence as lookalikes.
Recently, they were a big draw at a Dharmasthala function in which Prime Minister Modi had participated and also at the Dharma Sansad in Udupi. A few days ago, the duo landed in Ahmedabad on a BJP worker’s suggestion. Since then they have been busy taking part in the party’s election campaign. BJP leaders and workers are competing with each other to book them for campaigning in their areas. In the last three days, the duo who sport trademark attires of Gandhi and Modi have attended over a dozen campaigns, mostly padayatras. Their presence in Gujarat has spread rapidly through newspapers and social media as a result of which BJP election managers in nearby places want to invite them. The duo have also covered the Maninagar assembly segment, once represented by Modi.Speaking over phone, Nayak said they were overwhelmed by the warmth of Gujaratis wherever they went.
“Many touched our feet in reverence and offered us food and accommodation in good hotels. They are taking good care of us,” he said.Nayak, who incidentally started his career as a tea seller when he was just 12, said it was his liking for Modi that brought him to Gujarat. “We have not come here for money. We are leading a retired life and this is an outing for us. We have spent our own hard-earned money to come here,” said Nayak.Amid their busy schedule they took time to visit the Sabarmati Ashram and a few temples and churches in Ahmedabad and surrounding areas. “We are not sure when we will wind up our tour. It may take 10-15 days more. After campaigning, we may visit a few places of interest before returning,” said Nayak.