He is unabashed about his new found fame as the wealthiest candidate in the Lok Sabha polls. Deepak Bhardwaj of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) says the rich can "serve the poor better" and should get more nominations in elections.
He also likens party chief and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to "an army commander" who keeps factionalism at bay.
Bhardwaj, who is fighting from West Delhi, has declared assets worth over Rs 603 crores (Rs 6.03 billion), thus making him the richest candidate so far in these elections.
"It is good that political parties nominate rich candidates in elections. If you find a rich person as your candidate, he or she can help the poor better and look after development work," he said, well aware that a contestant from Gujarat, Khimjibhai Patel, has declared assets worth over Rs 500 crores (Rs 5 billion).
"How can a poor candidate serve the poor? It only stands to reason and therefore richer candidates should be given more chance to contest elections," 58-year-old Bhardwaj told IANS.
Bhardwaj is the second candidate of the BSP - a party whose creed is known for championing the cause of the downtrodden - to have declared assets of over a billion rupees. Kanwar Singh Tanwar, the BSP candidate from South Delhi, had declared assets worth over Rs 150 crores (Rs 1.5 billion).
A Delhi University graduate, Bhardwaj has been associated with over a dozen welfare organisations and educational institutions and wants to revolutionise country's education system.
"I feel that if everyone is educated in the country then there is no need for reservations in any sector. I dream of an India of 100 percent literates.
"I am planning to set up a university in Dwarka and many other educational institutions to provide education to people," said Bhardwaj, who says he works 20 hours a day for the elections.
The Bhardwaj family owns lands in almost 40 villages around Delhi and has a thriving real estate business in various cities. They also own the huge Nitesh Kunj Hotel complex on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway besides owning a small township in Haridwar.
Bhardwaj, who is famous among voters for the welfare work done in the West and Outer Delhi areas, is likely to give a tough fight to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate Jagdish Mukhi and Congress candidate Mahabal Mishra from West Delhi.
The BSP nominee is focusing on issues like education for all, development, employment, relief to farmers and sadak, bijli, pani (roads, power and water).
"I am a follower of Sant Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati who was a great reformer and I wish to walk in his footsteps. In the olden days, India was called the Golden Sparrow but I call it the Mountain of Gold or Ocean of Gold as it has a rich heritage, fertile land and resources in abundance.
"However, our politicians lack the vision to make use of these resources and are more busy stocking money for their personal benefits," said Bhardwaj who proudly calls himself "the son of a farmer".
Before joining the BSP, Bhardwaj has had short stints in the Congress and the BJP but left both following "factionalism" in the two major parties.
"Behan Mayawati is like an army commander and all other party workers are her soldiers. There is no factionalism in the party. The party believes in the principle of 'bahujan hitay bahujan sukhay (everyone's welfare, everyone's happiness) and works for welfare of the society'," the father of two said.
The family grew to riches after several hectares of land owned by them in the capital were acquired by the government for development in the last two decades. The money was then invested in the real estate in many cities in the country and turned him into a billionaire.
"I am an honest and responsible citizen who has been paying income tax worth millions every year. I believe the electorate should be given the right to call back their elected leaders if they find their work unsatisfactory," signs off Bhardwaj.