Mathura: In Uttar Pradesh, where one of the most interesting and vital polls in recent years will be fought next month, the election process formally began with a 73-year-old "baba" filing his nomination on Tuesday.
On day one, "Fakkad Baba" was the only candidate to file his nomination papers for the Uttar Pradesh assembly polls to be held on five days in February and March.
Leaning on an aide, he walked slowly to the election office and submitted his papers as an independent candidate in Mathura, mumbling holy verses while doing so.
The saffron-robed, barefoot sadhu with a flowing white beard has contested 16 elections since 1977 and lost every one. Eight of them were national elections.
He owns no property or house and sleeps in night shelters and temples, but he still spends everything he has on fighting polls. All he has kept is a moped he calls "Vicky".
He claims that he is following the advice of his Guru, the Shankaracharya of Jagannath Puri.
"Guru Maharaj came in my dreams and ordered me to keep fighting elections," he says.
Vowing to clean up the system if he ever wins, he declares: "All politicians are liars."
He also claims to have an agenda. "There is a lot of water problem here and isn't that unacceptable for a city that sees so many pilgrims?"
To date, his best performance was in 1991 when he claims to have won 8,000 votes in a contest against the BJP's Sakshi Maharaj.
In the 2014 national election, Fakkad Baba spent Rs 84,000, mostly donated by his disciples.
He doesn't expect to win this election either.
But the compulsive candidate says his Guru has predicted he will win the 20th election of his life.
Born in Kanpur, Fakkad Baba came to Mathura with a sadhu when he was 11 years old.
He says he has raised the 10,000-rupee deposit money needed to contest; which he knows he will forfeit. The money has been donated by his followers, he says.