Eknath Shinde has a doppelganger in Pune. And now he is on the police's radar
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s lookalike Vijay Mane was booked by the Pune Police for posing with notorious gangster Sharad Mohol. As per the police, during Ganeshotsav, Mane, dressed up as Shinde, went to pandals and performed aartis
Being a politician’s doppelganger has its own pros and cons. Even as the fame is instant, the lookalike’s life is not always a bed of roses.
Maharashtra chief minister Eknath Shinde’s duplicate Vijay Nandakumar Mane had a similar realisation when he was booked by the Pune Police on Monday for posing with notorious gangster Sharad Mohol.
Mane, an Ambegaon resident, was accused of impersonating the Maharashtra chief minister and hurting his image, as per Indian Express.
Senior police inspector Pratap Mankar of the Bundgarden police station told Indian Express, “Anti extortion cell of the crime branch will be investigating this case. An FIR is being lodged against the suspect.”
Who is Vijay Nandakumar Mane, accused of aspersing Shinde’s image?
Let’s take a look:
Who is CM Shinde’s lookalike?
Vijay Nandakumar Mane is a local member of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) in Pune and also works as a sub-contractor for builders and construction companies, reports ThePrint.
His life changed during Eknath Shinde’s rebellion against Shiv Sena president and then Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray in June this year.
As per ThePrint, 37-year-old Mane, with a thick beard, spectacles and a red teeka, was thrown into the limelight straight away for his resemblance to Shinde.
He started getting noticed after Shinde took the oath as the chief minister on 30 June. Mane was stopped on the streets by people who asked for pictures with him.
Mane shot to fame when he attended an event on the occasion of the birth anniversary of social reformer Annabhau Sathe in Pune’s Swargate area on 1 August, reports ThePrint.
“The news media present there made me famous. I also met chief minister Shinde saheb on three or four occasions after that. His PA also clicked a picture with me because I look so much like saheb,” Mane was quoted as saying by ThePrint.
On why he dresses like Shinde, Mane told ThePrint he began donning white clothes, which he said are ‘hallmarks of a politician’, as he intends to run for the Pune municipal corporation polls.
The case against Mane
It all happened at a police station.
As per Hindustan Times (HT), Mane and Mohol were present at a police station in Ahmednagar district where the picture in question was taken.
“In one such photograph, Mane was spotted standing by the gangster, while the latter was seated on the chair. This would malign the chief minister’s image,” Balaji Pandhare, a senior inspector at police Bundgarden station, told HT.
Shinde’s doppelganger has also been accused of circulating the photograph with the gangster on social media.
As per the police, during Ganeshotsav, Mane, dressed up as Shinde, went to pandals and performed aartis, Hindustan Times reported.
Mane has been booked under sections 419 (cheating by personation), 469 (forgery), 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Information Technology (IT) Act, reports ThePrint.
Mane denies allegations
Vijay Mane maintains his innocence saying he did not know the man beside him was a dreaded gangster. Notably, Mohol has been named in at least 14 criminal cases including murders.
Dubbing Shinde his “guru”, Mane expressed regret if his actions hurt the chief minister.
“I had gone for a programme in Ahmednagar district. Everyone thought that the chief minister had arrived and moved aside to make way. I went inside the local police station and sat there for casual conversation. There was a huge crowd there and I didn’t know who was next to me. Someone must have clicked a picture and made it viral,” he was quoted as saying by ThePrint.
Mane also hit out at the cops, asking why they did not raise objection when the picture was taken at the police station.
Advocate Asim Sarode also rebuked the police action against Mane. “Nobody has complained against Mane. He has not robbed anyone in the name of the chief minister. I will meet Mane and will decide how to challenge this FIR,” he was quoted as saying by HT.
Other politicians’ lookalikes
Narendra Modi’s doppelganger has hit headlines for more than his resemblance to the prime minister.
Abhinandan Pathak, who hails from Saharanpur, had campaigned for Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
However, he changed loyalty in 2018 and campaigned for the Congress party in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan elections.
Ahead of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections this year, Pathak had declared he would contest as an independent candidate from the Sarojini Nagar Assembly seat in Lucknow.
In 2019, Rahul Gandhi’s lookalike changed his appearance and put on weight to end comparisons with the Congress leader.
“I don’t wish to be known as a lookalike of Rahul Gandhi. Of course, he is a national leader and I respect him, but I am a BJP supporter and I favour Narendra Modi,” Prashant Sethi told Times of India.
With inputs from agencies
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