Karnataka Assembly Elections 2018: Tea Seller-Turned-Millionaire Contesting As Independent

Karnataka assembly elections: With declared assets of Rs 339 crore, P Anil Kumar is the richest Independent candidate to have filed nomination so far.

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Karnataka assembly polls: Anil Kumar contesting from Bommanahalli constituency in Bengaluru


Bengaluru: 

Highlights

  1. P Anil Kumar is from Kerala, will contest from Bommanahalli, Bengaluru
  2. He is the richest independent candidate to have filed nomination papers
  3. He is pitted against the BJP's Sathish Reddy
He once used to sell tea to make a living. Today, P Anil Kumar is a crorepati who has taken the political plunge. The 43-year-old has filed his nomination papers for next month's Karnataka assembly elections as an Independent candidate from Bommanahalli constituency in Bengaluru.

With declared assets worth Rs 339 crore, Mr Kumar is the richest Independent candidate to have filed nomination papers for the polls scheduled on May 12. He also owns a fleet of 16 cars, including imported brands though he wouldn't name them.

For Mr Kumar, who is from Kerala, struggle began early in life. After his father died, his mother worked as a house help to look after her three children.

"My mother used to wipe floors and wash utensils at people's houses. She would get four idlis to eat but would first feed us," said the businessman, breaking into tears.

With resources stretched at home, Mr Kumar could not study beyond the third standard. He left home for Bengaluru when he was just 11 in 1985.

With no place to stay in an alien city, he used to sleep in front of closed shops at night. One day, a kind-hearted man gave him food and offered a job in his shop. I was told to carry mangoes from one place to another, he said.

Soon after, he started selling tea at small companies and later, during the IT boom in the 1990s, at software companies and big showrooms. He got more people and expanded his tea-selling business. I started earning more and even managed to save, he claimed.

His fortunes changed after marriage when the couple bought a plot in the city to build a house of their own. But he sold the land after somebody offered him double the price. It was his venture into the world of real estate that, according to him, yielded high returns.

"I started buying small plots and sold them for many times the price. That was in the late 90s," he said, claiming that he made crores in a span of six years.

Eight years ago, he set up his own company called M J Infrastructure in Bomanahalli. He says he is also into philanthropic work that includes building a church and a temple as well.

Pitted against the BJP's Sathish Reddy who holds the Bomanahalli seat, Anil Kumar seems confident of a win. I have the Almighty's blessings and support of the people, he said.

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