From the wrestling akharas of Sector 24 to the mayor's chair, Congress leader Harphool Chander Kalyan will now grapple with Chandigarh's civic issues.
Born in 1948 in Mirzapur village of Saharanpur (UP), Kalyan came to city as a teenager 50 years ago as his father got a job in the UT's health department.
Now 65, a graduate (BA), Kalyan retired in 2006 as deputy director-rank officer from a statistician's post in the Punjab agriculture department and has since been elected councillor twice.
"Thirty years ago, wrestling was my passion. Those days, the population of Chandigarh was very less and we had a lot of space to set up mud akharas in Sector 24, where I live," he said.
Kalyan's friend Kesho Ram, the Chandigarh unit president of Rashtriya Safai Mazdoor Congress, told HT, "Even now, he is disciplined with his daily exercise."
The new mayor recalled, as did his close friends, that life had not exactly been a bed of roses for him or his family. They talked of times when Kalyan's father Bhagirath's job was not enough.
"I used to do part-time jobs during my college days and pay my fee, besides contributing towards the household," Kalyan said.
Being a social worker, Kalyan contested the MC elections from Ward 7 on the Congress ticket in 2006 and won. In 2008, he was elected deputy mayor and in 2009 he became senior deputy mayor. He again contested in 2011 from Ward 13, and is now a representative of Sectors 49, 50, 51 and 63.
A Balmiki leader, he has large support in his community His friend BR Tisawarh, president of Chandigarh Dalit Welfare Association, said, "Kalyan's positive approach and readiness to help everyone has made him popular."
The other two
The senior deputy mayor is Heera Negi, 55, who represents Ward 21. She has studied till Class 12 and is a known social worker. She lists improvement in sanitation as her top priority.
Davesh Moudgil, 35, is from Ward 22. Holding an MA and LLB, he is a lawyer at Punjab and Haryana high court. Public participation in decision-making and transparency are his priorities.