Mr. Trump’s popularity in some parts of India is striking because the cult of personality he has tried to cultivate — of an unapologetically brash figure leading the United States to a bright new future while espousing “America First” — mirrors how India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, projects himself to his own supporters.
Mr. Krishna, a widowed farmer in his thirties who lived in the village of Konne in the southern state of Telangana, had been a Trump devotee for about four years. He became a fan when the president appeared to him in a dream, his relatives said, and predicted that India’s national cricket squad would beat its archrival, Pakistan, in a match the next day.
India won, Mr. Vivek said, “and from that day he started worshiping Donald Trump.”
But the farmer also admired the president as a leader, said Mr. Vivek, a 25-year-old accountant who lives near the southern city of Hyderabad. His cousin did not speak English, and the local news outlets where he lived paid scant attention to American politics. So he relied on Mr. Vivek to translate articles and videos for him.
Vemula Venkat Goud, Konne’s village headman, said that the young farmer had also been drawn to Mr. Trump’s “straightforward ways and blunt speech.”
Neighbors did not know much about American politics and had no opinion of Mr. Trump, he added. But since Mr. Krishna was such a huge fan, they embraced his cause as a courtesy, even if it struck them as a little odd.
As Mr. Krishna’s devotion to Mr. Trump intensified, he began fasting every Friday in support, and he commissioned the construction of a shrine in his backyard with the life-size statue, Mr. Vivek said. He worshiped it with Hindu rituals for an hour or two each morning, as one might when praying to Krishna, Shiva, Ganesha or other gods in the Hindu pantheon.