Once synonymous with “power abuse” in the Congress rule, BIS Chahal, former media adviser of Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh, is “at your service” in Mansa, distributing pairs of spectacles with an eye on entering politics.
Want to learn English to go abroad or find a private job? Need medical consultation and clinical tests? Or embroidery class and eye testing? Chahal, his son, Bikramjit Inder Singh Chahal, and their “Chahal Welfare Trust” offer these services free, “at your doorsteps”.
The trust’s gymnasiums in Mansa, Bhikhi, and Joga let 1,800 young men work out. Its spoken-English and personality development coaching centre trains 800-odd students for ILETS (International English Language Testing System) and job interviews, its computerised clinical laboratory outside the civil hospital offers blood and urine tests to almost 100 patients a day, and its three vehicles mounted with anti-mosquito spray machine fight dengue fever and malaria in villages, all this free for Mansa residents.
Every day, special vehicles take a couple of eye specialists into two villages for check-up camps. Those too poor to afford glasses get home-delivered pairs of spectacles within a week. The trust has given away nearly 5,000 pairs in two months.
This jump into social service in native district is calculated, though. After being acquitted in a disproportionate assets case in January, Chahal decided make headway in politics. He came to Mansa, which has no strong Congress candidate after he didn’t allow former legislator Mangat Rai Bansal to come back into the party last December.
Hailing from Dalelsinghwala village, Chahal says “it’s all social service for me and nothing political”. “I only repay villagers for their love. However, my son is keen to join politics.” During the 2002-07 Congress rule in the state, Chahal tried to adjust his son as deputy superintendent of police but court set aside the recruitment under sports quota. Bikramjit Singh looks after family business and agriculture since.
“All my projects will continue even after the 2017 elections, as my objective is to serve,” said Bikramjit Singh. “I am happy if the poor students better their English and get jobs.” Asked about the chances of a Congress ticket, he said: “All depends on Maharaja Saab (Amarinder). We owe all to him.”
Young men, meanwhile are happy with his gyms. “So, far they haven’t asked for votes. We are happy that they serve this interior district,” said Avneet Singh of Mansa.