You’d have never heard of him. A Google search on him yielded nothing on Thursday morning. But by evening, he’d taken the media by storm. He is Deepak Bhardwaj — real estate czar, farmer and India’s wealthiest neta with assets worth Rs. 622 crore.
The 58-year-old Bahujan Samaj Party man is making his political debut as party candidate for West Delhi. He pipped Mumbai builder Khimjibhai Patadia (53) — Independent candidate from Surendranagar in Gujarat with Rs. 514 crore in assets — to the top of the rich list.
Rs 622 crore is a huge amount. With that kind of money, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi can feed 10 lakh students for 13 years through the ‘mid-day meal’ scheme, at the current rate of Rs. 50 lakh per annum.
In Delhi, being stinking rich seems to be the sole criterion to get a BSP ticket. The party’s South Delhi candidate Kanwar Singh Tanwar is worth over Rs. 155 crore.
The BSP’s Delhi president Brahm Bidhuri said since the party doesn’t give candidates money to fight elections, it helps if they have their own.
As for Bhardwaj, who filed his nomination on Thursday, he said: “I’m not just another rich guy. I have joined politics to serve the country.”