From humble beginnings of a tailoring shop and canteen that started in 1948 and gave Master Canteen its name after their landmark eatery, the Hans family scaled great heights to create another landmark, the Lalchand jewellery store in the city.
The protagonist behind the success story of the jewellery brand, Sunjoy Hans, is now all set to take another step forward as he is contesting for both Lok Sabha and one of the Assembly seats in Bhubaneswar.
A celebrity in his own right, who brought in the glamour of top film stars such as Anubhav and Archita to endorse his brand, Hans is contesting from the newly formed political outfit of former Congress MP Soumya Ranjan Pattnaik, the Ama Odisha Party.
Of all candidates, his promise is the most unusual. “I am not a politician but a trusted businessman of the people of Odisha, and as a businessman, I promise that I will keep my word if I win,” he said wherever he went campaigning. Always suited up, Hans, the stylish businessman, said he had never expected or wished to join politics.
“It was a last-moment call and persuasion from Pattnaik to contest for Lok Sabha in Bhubaneswar on the night before the last date of filing nomination papers and I was given a ticket,” he said.
On the next day, he was given an Assembly ticket and he decided to contest for both the polls. Studied up to intermediate in commerce, Hans owns property worth Rs 65.91 crore.
The owner of the top jewellery brand of the state, however, owns not a single piece of jewellery. Hans said he was allergic of these precious metals. He wears two rings on a finger of each hand and those are interestingly not gold rings but made of iron and copper. The 50-year-old business tycoon is a well-known face in every household through popular television programmes sponsored by his jewellery brand.
“I have stepped into politics in a very challenging situation where I have to contest with people, who have years of experience in politics. I have very less time and yet I have been trying my level best to create a niche among the people of the Ekamra Assembly constituency as well as Bhubaneswar parliamentary constituency,” said Hans.
However, his campaign style is unique. He goes on car rallies through the city lanes, inside slums and roads in rural areas standing in his Mercedes Benz with a retractable roof. Another vehicle leads his campaign that carries beautiful girls, who his party members said, were members of Hans’s campaign team. These pretty faces are local actors and models, who attract people’s attention towards the rally.
“Whatever vehicles I have, I use it for campaigning unlike others, who own something but to get people’s sympathy show something else,” said Hans. Though he campaigns from a Mercedes, his affidavit shows that he owns a Fortuner and his wife a Hyundai Verna.
Hans, who might have never stepped out of air-conditioned vehicles, has to move village to village, colony to colony, ward to ward, panchayat to panchayat seeking votes for him.
“I am meeting with each individual on the route of my car rally and talking to them. Everybody identifies me with my brand and my showroom. They even tell me how and when they have come to my shop and met me. Even some old people identify me by my father. They come to me on their own and ask me about my wellbeing and assure me of their support. Their gesture makes me overwhelmed,” said Hans.
He said the popularity of his brand was helping him in emotionally bonding with the public.
For the past two weeks, he has been very active and busy campaigning for his candidature. Starting from 8am till 12 at night, he keeps meeting people and his partymen and party leaders. Hans and his campaign team take a break in the afternoon for an hour for lunch, but he carries his food with him.