Becoming the first mayor of SAS Nagar was a long-cherished dream of Kulwant Singh (55), a Class-10 passout and owner of Janta Land Promoters Limited that has a Rs 1,500-crore turnover with business interests in SAS Nagar, Ludhiana, Amritsar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar and Himachal Pradesh.
“Jab bi Mohali da mayor banoo Kulwant hi hona hai (whenever Mohali gets a mayor, it has to be Kulwant),” he would jokingly tell his colleagues when he was the president of the SAS Nagar municipal council. The aspiration to hold the office as the first SAS Nagar mayor was evident when Kulwant, after losing the parliamentary elections on the SAD ticket in 2014, had contested the SAS Nagar MC elections.
For 55-year-old Kulwant Singh, who began his career as an employee of Janta Dharam Kanda and earning a monthly salary of `375, is now the owner of a company that has a turnover of `1,500 crore. “Hard work and sincerity” paid him, whose role model was Dhirubhai Ambani.
In 1995, Kulwant contested the municipal council elections for the first time and won from ward number 21. He won the elections in 2000, but lost in 2005. He has remained senior vice-president in the municipal council from 1995 to 2000 and was the president till 2005. During his tenure as SAS Nagar municipal council president till 2005, Kulwant became close to the then local bodies minister, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, who introduced him to the then chief minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, who wanted to develop SAS Nagar into world class city and offered him land to develop various sectors in and around SAS Nagar.
Kulwant came close to SAD only in 2007, when SAD-BJP formed government, deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal declared that, he would order the probe into his land deals. After a month Badal suddenly backtracked of ordering probe, raising speculation that, the two had struck a deal. It was actually another real estate developer and present MLA from Dera Bassi, NK Sharma, who was close to Kulwant, brought him into the Badal’s fold and with getting Lok Sabha ticket.
His proximity to top political leaders of both SAD and Congress was conspicuous during his son’s marriage in October 2013. Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM, Punjab minister Aadesh Pratap Singh Karion and around nine SAD ministers and MLA’s, Congress leaders Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and MLAs spent more than three hours at the venue.
Initially, Kulwant borrowed `50,000 to buy one acre land and made a profit of `1.5 lakh by selling it. He then bought another four acre of land, from which he earned `6 lakh. Now, he is the only local realtor who owns two sectors — a residential estate on 138 acres in Sectors 91 and an industrial park on 254 acres in Sector 82 in SAS Nagar, besides several townships in Ludhiana and Kharar.
After passing his matriculation from his native village Samana Kalan in Ropar district, Kulwant reached Zirakpur in search of work. He came under the tutelage of a businessman, Madho Singh. For three years, Kulwant spent his days weighing trucks and heavy vehicles on a machine (dharma kanda) and retired to his room upstairs in the night. His first tryst with entrepreneurship came in 1987 when his employer forayed into the business of selling fodder (turi). Impressed with his hard work and dedication, he roped in Kulwant. For nearly one year, he rode horse carts through the streets and muddy lanes of Zirakpur to sell his stock.
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