KGF Babu plans to spend close to Rs 350 crore from his personal funds to provide Rs 5,000 to each household in the constituency as part of his education and welfare scheme for five years (2022-2027). Some party ticket holder, you ask? Well, Yousuf Shariff alias KGF Babu—because he belongs to the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF)—is neither a candidate nor a key position holder. He has simply released a manifesto declaring himself as an ‘aspirant’ for the Chickpet Assembly seat from the Congress.
“I am not distributing money with elections in mind. I want to help the people of Chickpet, the place where I have grown up. I want to give back to society,” says the Congressman, who has sought permission from the Congress high command to “vide an official party communique to go ahead with this educational/scholarship/societal welfare programme under the Congress banner”.
Shariff shot to fame when he became the richest politician in Karnataka with an asset of Rs 1,743 crore during his MLC election affidavit for the Bengaluru Urban seat in 2021. He lost the MLC election by 397 votes.
The Millers Road resident from Bengaluru believes that he will be granted permission before August 31, the date he has set for his donation drive. He plans to distribute a cheque of Rs 5,000 each to 50,000 families in Chickpet.
“Families whose children are studying in primary or secondary sections will be given this scholarship. The budget will be around Rs 125 crore for five years. Another Rs 5,000 will be given to pre-university students. This will help around 5,000 students. I have allotted Rs 7.5 crore for it,” Shariff says, adding that he has a plan to build multi-storey flats for slum-dwellers in the area at a cost of Rs 180 crore.
The man claims that he had carried out a similar exercise in Kolar, his birthplace, benefitting more than 25,000 families. The eldest among 14 siblings, Shariff said his family lived in abject poverty, till he began working as a scrap dealer associate with the Bharat Gold Mines and changed his fate.
Shariff has also been raided by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly converting black money into white. The ED officials conducted search and seizure operations at all properties owned by his family in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka. “I am clean. My money has been earned through hard work. I am not scared if the ED comes knocking at my door again,” he says.