Stenographer who became one of richest candidates to contest Lok Sabha polls

From an innocuous stenographer in the Sales Tax department in the early seventies Deepak Bhardwaj went on to become one of the richest candidates to ever contest a parliamentary election. A businessman with interests in education, real estate and hotels, Bhardwaj contested in the 2009 elections on a BSP ticket finishing third.

Sources in the BSP said Bhardwaj worked as a stenographer in the Delhi Sales Tax department between 1972 and 1979. "He was interested in starting a business of his own and in 1979 he opened an auto parts store. This did not last for long, and in the mid-eighties he moved to real estate," a leader said. He said Bhardwaj enjoyed moderate success till the mid-1990s.

Bhardwaj's breakthrough came when the government decided to upgrade the Indira Gandhi International Airport. "He owned a lot of land in the area surrounding the airport, which was acquired by the government. He used the money from this to expand his real estate business," a BSP office bearer said. He said in the recent years, Bhardwaj had also diversified to hotels and education.

At present, his family runs the Shiksha Bharati Public School in Dwarka and planned to open more in West Delhi. Bhardwaj was also developing a township project called Deepganga in Haridwar and hotels located along Delhi-Gurgaon route.

In 2009, Bhardwaj contested the Lok Sabha elections on a BSP ticket and came in third behind, Congress' Mahabal Mishra and BJP's Jagdish Mukhi.

In his affidavit before the Election Commission of India, Bhardwaj declared moveable and immovable assets of over Rs 600 crore.

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