Bureaucrat-turned-politician Yudhbir Singh Khyalia, 59, who took voluntary retirement from the post of Hisar divisional commissioner, is now in a role reversal. Earlier, people used to line up with folded hands at his office to seek his intervention; now, he is reaching out to them, visiting voters door to door, with folded hands.
Khyalia, a late entrant to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) fold, whose candidature was vehemently opposed by a section of the party’s Hisar unit, has vast experience of serving in Hisar, Fatehabad and Sirsa. On whether his bureaucratic tenure proves a boon or a curse for his new avatar as a politician, he said: “In the capacity of district magistrate, I had resolved several land- and revenue-related issues of the people of this region… During campaigning, I meet people with grudges against me, but also find people thankful to for the verdicts.”
Born in Jhanwari village of Bhiwani district, Khyalia did his schooling from the village and then graduation from Government College, Hisar. He did his post-graduation in English from Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak, and another master’s degree in public administration from Panjab University, Chandigarh.
He has a doctorate too, from Kurukshetra University. His is a family of academics now. His wife Kiran is a lecturer at Government College, Hisar, and is popular for having preserved Haryanvi folk songs sung during weddings. Their son Sanjeet is an advocate at the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Khyalia remained a teacher before getting into state civil services in 1984, and was promoted to Indian Administrative Service (IAS) in 1995.
On what made him join politics, he said: “I feel politics is the way to eradicate corruption, and (AAP national convener) Arvind Kejriwal’s emergence is sufficient proof.” He added that though he had tried his “level best” to clean up the system as an administrator, he found politics as a better platform.
|“You can’t undo the life that you have lived,” said Khyalia, who was in the news for holding official accommodation of Hisar divisional commissioner despite resigning. He is not new to facing political ire, and had remained under suspension in the previous Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) regime in the early 2000s, in a corruption case. The action was revoked by the Congress regime in 2005 by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda, and he was later given a posting as deputy commissioner of Sirsa, the home turf of INLD supremo Om Prakash Chautala.
In 2010, he had to face the wrath of victims of the Mirchpur anti-Dalit arson, after he was manhandled in Delhi, where he had gone on Supreme Court directions to placate them. Being the Sirsa DC, he was accused of flouting norms to extend benefits to a private blood bank after using Backward Region Grant Fund; he had purchased an air-conditioned bus worth `40 lakh for organising blood donation camps.
But blood donation remains his passion. Himself having donated blood 44 times, Khyalia has a doctorate in social work on the subject ‘Management of Safe Blood Transfusion’ given by Kurukshetra University.
His name was even listed in the Limca Book of Records of 1998 for having organised record donation in a single camp. He also heads an NGO called the Indian Society of Blood Transfusion & Immuno-haematology (ISBTI). While he served as DC in Sirsa, Fatehabad and Hisar, he used to keep the doors open for public for an unhindered movement, for which he was much appreciated as a ‘bureaucrat with a difference’.
His work in the Total Sanitation Campaign and literacy programmes gave him further recognition.